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New Japanese expedition to track the Yeti


A 60-year-old Japanese mountaineer will form a seven-member party and leave for a two-month Himalayan mission next month in quest for the legendary and elusive Yeti, according to his family.

House fitter Yos**teru Takahashi, 60, will leave Japan for Nepal on August 10 with five other men, a seventh is to join the party in the capital Kathmandu, Takahashi's wife, Masako, said.

"He has been convinced of the Yeti's existence for three decades and believes searching for it is the last romantic mission left in the Himalayas," she said.

Few have even claimed to have seen the Yeti, but tracks in the snow, rare photos - often fuzzy, excretions, hairs and disputed testimonies are some of the elements that continue to fuel the debate on the "abominable snowman".

Half man, half monkey, it is said to live high up in the thick forests of Nepal and Tibet, where it is known locally by the name "migou."

Takahashi's party, ranging in age from 31 to 60, is to stay at the Dhaulagiri (White Mountain) massif, whose main peak is 8,167 metres (26,950 feet) high.

They hope to track the Yeti down by setting up at least four infra-red cameras.

Takahashi climbed the Dhaulagiri peaks twice in the 1970s and once in 1982.

He returned there in 1994 for the sole purpose of finding the Yeti - in vain.

He failed to film the Yeti although he smelled a strong animal scent and found barefoot footprints that resembled those of a small human child and measured between 10 and 20 centimetres (four and eight inches), his 56-year-old wife said.

"I know I cannot stop him as we have been married for 27 years, and I want people to understand he is serious about the mission," she said.

The party is being provided with logistic support from the major Japanese daily Asahi.

Since the last century, curious westerners have put themselves on the track of the Yeti.

Among the most famous are Italian mountaineer Reinhold Messner, and Edmund Hillary, who first conquered Everest on May 29, 1953.

Some years after, in 1960, the New Zealander took part in a ten-month expedition to attempt to prove the existence of the Yeti in the Khumbu Valley, to the south of Everest. But it was in vain.

The most convincing evidence was a scalp brought back from a monastery in Khumjung.

But scientific analysis proved it was a forgery, made with a piece of a Serow Himalayan goat


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