Dom Joly: I'm after the Abominable Snowman, but nothing yeti...

Share
Related Topics

Trekking up to 4,000 metres high above the Khumbu valley in Nepal, I came across a curious sight. As I rounded a corner on the precarious path that I had taken from Namche Bazaar, I got a fantastic view of Everest in the distance. But it wasn't this that caught my eye. It was a low-slung, rather tasteful stone building nestled in a forest of eucalyptus and stubby juniper trees. It stood out because it was very different from the traditional Sherpa homes clinging to the steep slopes that surrounded me.

Somebody had chucked a lot of money at this place and I was intrigued. I climbed the impressive stone steps to the entrance only to find that I was suddenly in a luxury hotel. It is called the Everest View Hotel and was built so that rich Japanese tourists could be helicoptered in from Kathmandu, get a truly impressive view of Everest from the huge balcony, spend a night and then be helicoptered back down into the valley. Unfortunately, it turned out not to be the best business idea. To drop straight in to somewhere 4km above sea level tends to bring on Acute Mountain Sickness rather rapidly.

On the beautiful stone viewing balcony which reminded me of archive footage of Hitler's Berchtesgaden (his Eagle's Nest in the mountains of Bavaria), was a group of very ill-looking Japanese tourists. They had just been flown in and were feeling the full effects of AMS. To give them due credit, they were trying their best to pose for their cameras and to strike those faux gangsta poses that Japanese tourists so love to do – but their hearts just weren't in it. One man vomited over the edge on to a rather startled Himalayan dog that had the misfortune to be having a snooze at the base of the wall. I bought a very expensive cup of coffee before moving on to my destination – Khumjung.

I was here to visit the local monastery that has what it claims to be the skull of a yeti. I found "the keeper of the skull" asleep in his room and, after an exchange of pleasantries and finance, he was persuaded to unlock the room in which the skull is kept. I entered and found myself in front of a lime-green metal cabinet that was also locked.

I was shown a little slot on the right-hand side where further "donations" were to be inserted. This done, the cabinet was opened and there was the object of my voyage. It was a cone-shaped thing, partially covered in reddish-brown hair and displayed in a locked glass box. I stared at it for quite a while in utter fascination. I'd first seen it on a television show called Arthur C Clarke's Mysterious World when I was a schoolboy, and I had promised myself that one day I would go and see it.

I asked the keeper of the skull whether he could get it out of the cabinet so that I could see it better. He hinted that $200 (£125) would make this possible. The yeti-hunting business is an expensive one. I had already been told that it would cost me $6,000 to speak to a local woman who claimed to have been attacked by a yeti and thrown into a river. She played dead and watched the beast kill her yaks. A Japanese television crew had paid this sum for an interview with her and she now felt this was the going rate. Apparently the Japanese crew had also brought along a yeti costume so that they could recreate the attack. They had not told the poor woman that this was going to happen and it triggered terrible flashbacks.

I'm now off up into the snow zone to try to find some footprints.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Read Next
'Our media are suffering a new experience: not fear of being called anti-Semitic'  

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk
David Cameron (pictured) can't steal back my party's vote that easily, says Nigel Farage  

Cameron’s benefits pledge is designed to lure back Ukip voters. He’ll have to try harder

Nigel Farage
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices