Thursday, July 18, 2024

Is Yeti real or a myth? – A conversation with Bikram Boro- veteran mountaineer

Robin Bhuyan (Editor)

Leema Buragohain

We are sure you have heard and read a lot about Yeti, the mystifying and mysterious creature living in the remote nooks of the Himalayan mountains. What if we told you that there is someone who claims to have not only almost been near a yeti but also stood in its presence? Yes, Bikram Boro, a veteran Assamese mountaineer, has claimed to have come face-to-face with this mystical creature, with pictures as evidence. Bikram Boro is a highly accomplished mountaineer who has scaled several summits and conquered challenging peaks throughout his mountaineering journey. Let’s hear about his fascinating journey, experiences, and challenges in this insightful interview.

EH: Is the Yeti merely a mythical creature, or does it exist in reality? Have you ever believed in its existence or had any personal experiences related to the yeti or any similar beings?

BB: In 2014, a man named Saurabh Gandhi, who was our leader, shared a peculiar incident with us involving spirits during our nightly discussions while we were on our way to Mount Kolahoi, in Kashmir. The story he recounted left everyone in awe, as it seemed to embed itself deep within our minds. The following night, as I made my way to the washroom, a feeling of unease overcame me thanks to the eerie story I had heard the day before. I woke up my friend, but he went to sleep again. Left with no alternative, I turned on the flash light and went out alone. Amidst the darkness, faint noises echoed behind me, which I attributed to the whispering winds. Determined not to succumb to fear, I consciously chose to ignore the unsettling sounds and return to sleep. The next morning, we gathered and went to our leader, who informed us that a Yeti had indeed visited our camp the previous night. Yeti is believed to be a human-like giant creature that resides in the mountains. After departing from the camp, we managed to reach the summit. And we returned to the same location three days later, intending to spend another night at the same place.

EH: That’s really interesting. Do continue.

BB: That night, my friend was about to go to the washroom. Then I thought about what had happened the other night, as the leader had already informed me that a Yeti had visited. He went out. It was about 11 o’clock. However, a deafening explosion-like sound emanated from outside, which may have caused my friend’s prolonged absence. We gathered in collective concern, compelled to discuss the unfolding situation. Filled with tension, we gathered as a group and used walkie-talkies to contact the Sherpa team, urgently seeking their assistance. We anxiously awaited their arrival, hoping for their guidance and their support. After half an hour, we were relieved to hear the sound of footsteps approaching. Our eyes turned towards my friend, who was returning, and as he joined us, recounted an unsettling experience.

EH: Wow. What did he say?

BB: He explained that a mysterious figure was leading him on the journey. In a state of complete unawareness, he was compelled to follow this figure, completely surrendering to his guidance. Remarkably, he shared that he had neared the summit of the mountain when the man abruptly instructed him to turn back. This perplexing turn of events led him to return alone. Adding to the intrigue, reaching the summit typically requires an arduous journey spanning approximately three days, yet he claimed to have been on the brink of accomplishment within a mere hour. The man had then advised him to return. The next morning, the Sherpa team descended and discovered a set of footprints, indicating both an ascent and descent along the mountainside. The Sherpa team remained silent, yet their expressions revealed their deep contemplation, indicating that they had a strong intuition that something noteworthy had occurred. The Sherpa team later revealed that such occurrences were not uncommon. They also confirmed that he had indeed reached the mountain, and also attributed his safe return to either his good luck or the possibility of encountering a benevolent spirit. They emphasized that without this fortuitous encounter, his survival would have been unlikely.

EH: That’s truly an amazing story. Do you think this being could have been a yeti?

BB: There is a possibility, as we had seen a lot of mysterious footprints that were not of normal size.

EH: Have you had any other supernatural or remarkable occurrences during your mountaineering adventures?

BB: Yes, we have heard strange and eerie sounds during our expeditions, such as sometimes we hear people crying. It is believed to be spirits of people who have passed away during expeditions. But some experts also attribute this to Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). As we climb higher and higher, our brains don’t work as they should, due to the lack of oxygen.

EH: Talking about your career, how did your fascination with climbing mountains begin?

BB: In 1997, I embarked on a thrilling adventure into the world of exploration. It was a significant year for me, as I had just completed my matriculation. Engaging in the National Cadet Corps (NCC), I found myself drawn to the allure of the great outdoors. Kerala, with its breathtaking landscapes, became the stage for my inaugural trekking experience. During that time, I had the incredible opportunity to meet one or two seasoned mountaineers. Their presence had a profound impact on me, igniting a spark of inspiration within my adventurous spirit. Later on upon enrolling at Arya College, I had the fortune of crossing paths with a remarkable individual named Ajit Singh. It was through our interactions that I gained valuable insights into various aspects of this field. Prior to our encounter, I had little knowledge about training purposes and the intricacies involved. We organised a mountaineering program in Basistha, where I took on the role of assistant. I was the General Secretary of the Mountaineering Cell at Arya College during the time.

EH: So how did things continue? How did you embark on your first expedition?

BB: I embarked on a personal endeavour to organise trekking expeditions on my own. In the year 2000, I took a significant step forward by enrolling at the prestigious Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. However, I faced a lack of support from my family. My love for trekking and mountaineering grew exponentially. As time went on, I was fortunate enough to receive some support from my family, which made a significant difference in my journey. I have successfully scaled several majestic mountain peaks throughout my journey, including Mount Kedar Dome, Mount Hanuman Tibba, Mount Maniram, Stok Kangri, Papsura Peak, Thinchenkhang, Draupadi ka Danda, and Mount Kolahoi, which is one of the most difficult peaks to climb.

EH: What organisations are you involved with at present?

BB: I am actively engaged with several organisations that promote adventure, rock climbing, and mountaineering. These include the Assam Rock and Sports Climbing Association, the Assam Mountaineers and Adventure Circle, Sahajatri, the Global Adventure Association, and SPOT (the Society for Promotion of Tourism).

EH: What are some of the most captivating sights one can experience in the mountains?

BB: In the serene embrace of the mountains, one can discover the bliss of a stress-free existence. Far away from the distractions of modern connectivity, the absence of network signals creates a tranquil environment, allowing for precious moments of self-analysis and rejuvenation. It is during these cherished mountain retreats that we find the opportunity to disconnect from the constant demands of technology and immerse ourselves in the natural surroundings, providing the perfect setting to recharge our minds, bodies, and souls.

EH: What advice would you offer to individuals aspiring to embark on an expedition to Mount Everest?

BB: After receiving numerous inquiries from people who are thinking about embarking on an Everest expedition, I would like to emphasize that this is an incredibly challenging endeavour. Before considering such a journey, it is crucial to have a deep understanding of mountains and its demanding nature. Dedication is paramount, as conquering Everest or any other mountain is not an easily attainable feat. It is imperative to undergo thorough and proper training, as there are no second chances on the mountain. Proceeding with caution and respect for the mountain’s formidable nature is of utmost importance.

EH: We thank you, Mr Bikram for your time, and for sharing your experiences. Wishing you all the best in your further expeditions.

BB: Thank you so much!

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