Yeti expedition across Tian Shan mountains in Kyrgyztan

Selosse Fabien Start Date: Jul 27, 2017 - End Date: Nov 26, 2017
  • Naryn Region, Kirghizistan
  • Naryn, Province de Naryn, Kirghizistan
  • Kosh-Dobo, Province de Naryn, Kirghizistan
  • Bichkek, Kirghizistan

My Travel Story

by: Selosse Fabien Start Date: Jul 27, 2017 - End Date: Nov 26, 2017
This expedition takes part of an sientific project.  This publication aims at funding an expedition of 10 days and 11 nights accros the Tian Shan mountains in Kyrgyztan, Naryn region. Here is the presentation of the project and our team. Since april, we did our best to find some people to join us in order to reduce the fixed prices but in vain. Today we are close to the date and still have nobody. We will advance the costs and this crowdfunding campaign aims at reibursing us for this scientific adventure !

In 2017, the “wild-men”, “ksy giik”, “snow-men”, “yeti”, “bigfoot”, “sasquatch”, “almasty”, “orang-pendek” and other “kor adam” are still a world enigma. The Soviet Union covered the largest unified territory of the world during the 20th century. Many testimonials have been registered during the last century in different regions of U.S.S.R, from Caucasus to Siberia, including the Tien Shan and Pamir. Several expeditions have been conducted in these regions by the Soviet Academy of Sciences.

In Kyrgyzstan, there are still regular testimonials about “wild men”, the latest one in 2015. A group of local enthusiasts led by the Spanish biologist Gustavo Sanchez Romero is interested in investigating deeper this enigma in 2017.

Presentation of the project:

  • General objective of the project:

This project is intended in raising the awareness of the international scientific community about the presence of unknown mammal related to Hominid or Primate in the mountainous areas of Kyrgyzstan, by finding more evidences of all kind.

  • Geographical context:

Almost all the mountain ranges in Central Asia are connected to each other. You could technically walk from Kyrgyzstan to Myanmar in mountainous landscape, permanently above 2000m. Tien Shan mountains are connected with Pamir, connected with Hindu Kush, connected with Karakoram, connected with Kashmir, connected with the Himalayas. Some regions are extremely remote, being more than 200 km far from the first village. The density of population is also relatively small.

Some regions are dry, with high rocky mountains, other have luxuriant vegetation, with woods.

  • Activities during the espedition :

Yeti/Wild Man Research activities include:

o Night camera traps monitoring/setting
o Tracks casting
o Scat ID/sampling
o Hair collecting
o Forest nests ID
o Forest structures ID
o Bark/tree chewing ID
o Voice/Calls broadcasting (recorded and live)
o Tree beating
o Urine traps setting/monitoring

Local Fauna Inventory activities include:

o Scat ID
o Tracks ID
o Bird identification
o Mammal watching
o General fauna documenting/photographing (Insects, reptiles, amphibians, and previous groups also)

The protagonists:

1.       Gustavo Sanchez Romero:

Gustavo is a Spanish zoologist living at the moment in Bishkek. Here he is collaborating with many local organizations and Institutions, like the Snow Leopard Foundation Kyrgyzstan and the Kirgiz Academy of Sciences. He is a keen naturalist and cryptozoologist. Cryptozoology is a sister branch of zoology, the scientific study of hidden, unknown or not yet fully documented animal species. He has written, and illustrated, multiples articles on the topic, and has published 3 books on mystery animals. Both him and Fabien share a passion, and healthy obsession, for Yeti related “things” since childhood, especially after reading Tintin in Tibet. Their friendship and interest in the Kirgiz Wild Man has sparked the flame for this and hopefully, many other expeditions, in search of the highly elusive unknown primates, or hominids, of central Asia.
1.       Bakyt Asakeev:

Bakyt is Kyrgyz, and lives in Naryn city. He is the former head of the KGB (criminal police), and of the hunting department of the region. His knowledge of the region, the local way of doing the things as well as his relations with the local people are highly valuable for the success of our project. Bakyt has been in touch with the soviet expedition during the USSR time and started to investigate by himself after getting retired from the local KGB.

2.       Nomad’s Land:

Nomad’s Land is an ecotouristic company, which also provides logistic services for sport events, alpinists of scientific expedition Samuel, the swiss founder of Nomad’s Land works together with Fabien, a French expatriate working previously as logistician for the humanitarian NGO “Medecins Sans Frontieres”. The knowledge of Samuel and Fabien about organizing expedition as well as their relations in the countryside, and the expedition equipment that they own is very important for the project.

How did everything start?

End of January 2017, Gustavo and Fabien met for the first time in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and shared their interest about the snow man enigma. During a trip to Naryn region in February, they met with Bakyt, a local touristic partner for Nomad’s Land, being also an old friend of Samuel. Bakyt shared testimonials and local stories about the snow man, as well as his opinion and longtime interest in the enigma. Bakyt came to Bishkek a few weeks later and the group started to work on the project.

Testimonials registration

Gustavo arrived in Kyrgyzstan with a list of 49 gathered testimonials starting in 1910 till 2015. We have been screening all of them in order to mark them on a map. We used google earth for that purpose.

Purchase of the footprint video tape:

Bakyt informed the rest of the group that a video has been made by the border guards in 2000 when they discovered the footprints in the Arpa valley. The border guards didn’t want to give this video for free, as they feared for their reputation if the video ended up into the hands of wrong people. Bakyt convinced them to sell us the tape, and Samuel bought it for 200 USD. The tape’s length is around 7 minutes and shows in a rather good quality the environment of the Arpa valley. Then it shows the 2 footprints made on the river bank in soft clay. The men are seen sizing the footprint. The footprint is around 45cm long. The tape has been converted into digital format. There is no sound on the digital format and we couldn’t read the original tape yet because of lack of VHS player.

Exploratory mission in April 2017:

Following the purchase of the tape, it got clear that we had to interview the people involved in the tape and investigate deeper in the region of Naryn. Bakyt arranged interviews with the retired border guards and we went to Naryn in early April for 3 days. We also decided to go to Kosh Dobo, the closest village to the place where the tape has been recorded. We met hunters who had also testimonials and interviewed them.

We moved the next day towards Kazarman village, as Bakyt got information about a potential witness. This witness observed a young “yeti” around 10 years ago. We also interviewed him. All interviews have been recorded with both voice recorder and video camera.

Bibliographical research in the archives:

We requested the authorization to consult the national archives of Kyrgyzstan. We got a positive answer. Gustavo went together with Zulia (Samuel’s wife) to the archives to look for information. No result.

Expedition to the tape’s shooting place in Arpa valley

How Long : 1 week on-site (without transportation). Total 11 days from 05/08 till 15/08


05/08: Bishkek – Kosh Dobo: Stop in Naryn for supplies. Night in Kosh Dobo. 1st briefing
06/08: Kosh Dobo – Arpa Valley camp site + build up the camp
07/08 – 13/08: Exploration of the study area + briefing about study
14/08: Dismantle the camp and way back to Kosh Dobo. Night in Kosh Dobo
15/08 Drive back to Bishkek.

Total = 11 days

  • Naryn Region, Kirghizistan
  • Naryn, Province de Naryn, Kirghizistan
  • Kosh-Dobo, Province de Naryn, Kirghizistan
  • Bichkek, Kirghizistan