On Menlung Glacier in 1951

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A very famous image, and you probably know what it is. But - really.. look at it very closely, what is it really? No, this is not a trick question: I'm just proposing that people really look in detail at all of its features. More terror birds soon, also tree-climbing dinosaurs, the last anurans, squirrels, and more lake monsters.

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Has a decent version of the photograph featuring multiple footprints in a row made it online? It at least shows that this was not a singular occurrence - and that the tracks were nearly in a strait line. According to Shipton the tracks crossed a crevasse.

Apparently the scale of the track has been measured at a foot long. It appears that "digit II" and "digit III" lean inwards to each other and form a semi-circular gap. "Digits II-V?" decrease in both impression size and height. There is a depression behind these digits. Appearing to originate about midway on the track is "digit I", which significantly exceeds the other digits in size and depth and faces the same way as the other "digits". Where it terminates there also appears to be a large transverse depression which leads into a longitudinal/marginal depression following the "digit". The lower left hand corner also has a depression.

I almost get the impression that the various depressions inside the foot were caused by a previous track. I would say it could possibly be overlapping bear tracks if it wasn't for that "big toe"...

A mark left where 3 stoats hudled together in the cold before all be carried of by an owl, leaving behing just thr resting trace :)


Note also the heel. A broad heel. A bear's foot narrows down from the toes to a v-shaped narrow heel.

Note too, good reader, how crisp the snow is, how sharp edged. That snow has not melted.

And we are talking about a high quality photograph here. The original shot was taken by a high quality, high resolution camera. British expeditions of the time set out with some damn fine equipment.

The subject has been burdened by error and fraud and obstinacy. Mostly by the last. But, to paraphrase Arthur Conan Doyle, "Once you've eliminated everything that is not the answer, what ever is left is the answer."

There appear to be two offset toes, an aspect that appears to me unusual for all Mammalia. The first toe is offest from the rest of the foot, and the second toe from the remainder. The "heel" is depressed inverse to an actual heelprint, and in the right of the depression is what appears to be an actual print. My impression is that this is a double impression, with a normal foot impressed from the bottom right of the image to the three "little toes" in the top left. The super big toe looks fake, and the rear of the print was artificially (and poorly) enlarged with a tool to improve the size and roundedness of the heel. It looks as though snow was scooped up into a rim. There are impressions within the print along the lateral margin from the "instep" which do not appear to be even vaguely accurate anatomically.

By Jaime A. Headden (not verified) on 14 Jun 2008 #permalink

two offset toes? it's clearly some kind of giant snow koala.

several people following a trailbreaker in moccassins.

Why wasnt pics taken of other prints? Good clear tracks are not easy to come by.

I dont trsut prints in such a frangible substance as snow.

(But note that Bigfoot leaves prints in a straight line unlike humans and bears whos are staggered.)


While the rear foot narrows toward the heel, the front foot is wide. You'll often find bear tracks where a rear print is just in front of a front print. Change the stride just a tad and you get overlap, with the front foot in back (and beneath) the back foot.

That said, while that's probably the origin of the track, there are some rather interesting little things that suggest some skullduggery. The rear left side looks excavated: the edge has some suspiciously straight lines and it's obviously significantly deeper than the rest of the print.

Jaime - wow, i've looked at that photo loads of times and never noticed that, but as soon as i looked back at the photo after reading your post, it leapt out at me...

Ignore the deeper areas at the extreme bottom left and extreme top right (the left half of the heel and the "big toe"), and suddenly you have an almost normal human footprint (lacking only the impression of one of the small toes), aligned about 15-20 degrees from the vertical.

I think i'm going to outline the human print in Paint or something and post it on cryptozoology.com...

Looks to me to be three-part composite.
First, presumably the oldest, is not a footprint of anything. The 'big toe', top left of the mark, looks to me to be an an egg shaped bubble in the snow that has been exposed as a cross section by erosion of the packed snow.

The second mark looks to be a bear print. This is lower and to the left of the exposed bubble. This forms the greatest portion of the overall outline. Except for the previously mentioned air pocket

Anyway, that's what it looks like to me.

The third portion looks to be a human footprint. A bare, or tabi clad, human foot placed in the bear print and projecting out the front. The peculiar placement of the toes indicates to me that the person was likely Asian in decent. Or at least someone who has worn tabi socks, with their useful but odd separation of the major toe from the four lesser toes. This tends to cause that seeming two-toes track and open space between the major and lesser toes. These are popular with, but not limited to, the Japanese.

There may also be some amount of melting to further confuse the issue. Do I get a cookie?

Looks to me more like the sculpted face of some mythical creature, rather than a footprint.

By Jim Thomerson (not verified) on 15 Jun 2008 #permalink

Darren, you are serious? Really an azanarchid pterosaur!?

Seriously, no known hominid, extant or fossil, had foot like that.

If you consider that it is composite - then depression on the upper right or "big toe" may be unrelated hole made e.g. by snow falling from the clothing. The rest matches human left hand in three-fingered glove.

I agree with Jaime and Art. The entire right edge looks carved, or, most charitably, sublimated (not melted, mind you).

And we are talking about a high quality photograph here.

I trust that this jpg here, with its pathetic resolution that is worthy of Nature, is a drastic compression of the original, specially made to make sure the page loads within a reasonable amount of time?

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 15 Jun 2008 #permalink

But, to paraphrase Arthur Conan Doyle, "Once you've eliminated everything that is not the answer, what ever is left is the answer."

That's how he decided that the Cottingley fairy photographs were real fairies. Maybe it's about time people stop quoting one of the world's great dupes as if he were an example to follow.

Some barefoot guy tied something to the inside of his foot and went for a stroll through the snow. Something like a microphone.

By Rafael Tosi (not verified) on 15 Jun 2008 #permalink

BTW, how do you get multiple impressions out of that? If we do have multiple impressions here, how did they get lined up so precisely that the result looks like a single impression?

I don't get multiple prints out of it. It looks like a human footprint (where someone just held his foot on the snow as opposed to walking -- the toes aren't impressed anywhere near deep enough for that!) that was drastically enlarged by carving a new right edge including the big toe and the heel.

By David Marjanovi? (not verified) on 17 Jun 2008 #permalink

A few points:
First, the photo of a series of tracks is, if I recall correctly, an unrelated image of goat prints. If Shipton and Ward actually took a good shot showing the series of yeti tracks (which they should have, but I've not read of them ever referring to it), it was spoiled or lost.
Second, there does appear to be some melting and refreezing in the heel, but there could not have been much, given that other areas don't show it.
Third, arguably the most eminent scientist ever to write on the topic, John Napier, wrote he might accept a composite of a bare and sandaled human print, but the explanation was not really convincing: he would have dismissed the yeti entirely except this print was "the one item in the whole improbable saga that simply sticks in my throat."

Fourth, and most important: the composite human print theory, in my experience, just does not work. I have tried this at different latitudes, altitudes (ok, only up to 6,000 feet), temperatures, angles to the sun, and textures of snow (wet/heavy, dry, and in between). At the risk (ok, it was more of a certaintly) of my wife saying I was crazy, I've made bare prints in snow and then trodden on them with various types of footwear, and also tried it in the opposite sequence. It just doesn't work. The toes never lengthen and/or separate while remaining crisp-looking. They melt into a blob. There's some variation in shape, time, etc under different conditions, but the end result is still the same: At no time do I get anything resembling the Shipton print.

I'd be curious to know whether anyone else's experimental results have been different.

Matt Bille