Guide to Patagonia's Monsters & Mysterious beings

I have written a book on this intriguing subject which has just been published.
In this blog I will post excerpts and other interesting texts on this fascinating subject.

Austin Whittall

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Chilean Abominable Snow Man

Some time ago I posted about the Patagonian Yeti. Fact and Fiction. While posting on the recent DNA analysis of hair that supposedly came from Bigfoot or Yeti, I remembered my post.

The "hair DNA" issue reminded me how difficult it is to come across reliable information regarding cryptids, either via photographs (always blurry!), videos (ditto) or eyewitness accounts. Below is the translation of some newspaper reports from late 1950s dealing with the Chilean Snow Man.

bigfoot joke

The Chilean Yeti

Paper clipping. Look at the Tarzan-like clothes of the Snow man. From [1]

Rough translation of the news printed at that time, quotes are shown textually.

An "ape-man" was reported on the slopes of Mount Palomo at an altitude of 4,850 m (16,000 ft.) in the interior of Rengo, close to the village of Popeta, Chile. See Map insert below.

Eyewitnesses described the creature as being 2 m tall (6.55 ft.), with "A protruding belly, thin and bony arms and dressed with hides". [1]

The location is known as Valle de los huesos (Bones Valley) because of the large amount of bones found in holes which most of the time are covered with snow.

Eyewitness accounts

It was spotted by a farmer named Absalon Valencia in summer (December) of 1957. They had gone hunting guanaco going up the Portillo River and after passing the Pan de Azucar and Alto de Hormigas reached the Valle de los huesos. One of the group spotted a hairy animal that seemed to be crouching, and shot at it. The animal stood up and surprised the party by running away on two feet. The hunters were shocked, they realized it was a man, "a kind of monkey of colossal height, with ling arms, hair that reached its waist, clothed in hides... I would say it measured more than two and a half meters (8.2 ft.)"[1]

Another sighting was reported on April 3, 1958 by a farm-hand named Pablo Espinoza, who was looking for some stray cattle. He went up the valley by the Claro River and at the "Hoyo de los Huesos" (hole of bones) saw some fruit trees, some were fig trees, hundreds of years old. Suddenly he saw "Something moving around by means of long jumps" and rode up to see it closer, but he was soon terrified when, instead of seeing one of his lost calfs, he saw the "gigantic man, covered with hides, with long arms and a protruding belly, a black and tangled beard and a mane that reached his waist", [1] the creature soon disappeared and the man fled back to his village.

Map of the zone, right next to the Andes, on the left of the map, Chile, on the right, Argentina


A local "cowboy", Carlos Soto also sighted the creature two years earlier, on May 12, 1956, at Cerro Palomo next to the steep valley where the Cipreses River is born. He described it in the same way as the others did. He saw the same creature and also ran away from it.

Hoax? Joke? The police at Rengo opted for the Joke theory [1].

It is intersting to point out that at that time Yeti Snow Man was in vogue, so it would be likely that even farmers in Chile knew about abominable snow men. See the Google Ngram Chart which shows a peak during that period (and the very lower frequency of Bigfoot). I think that this was due to the fact that Sir Edmund Hillary, one of the first two men to reach the summit of the highest mountain on Earth, Mount Everest, (with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay) on May 29, 1953, found Yeti hair and was an avid Yeti searcher. His fame made Yeti well known as from the mid 50's - see image below.

Also, in 1957 a movie on the subject (The Abominable Snow Man, with Peter Cushing) was screened... did it impress the Chilean audience in the Rengo area? Were people more susceptible to seeing Yetis in the frozen Andean heights?



Play with Google Ngram yourself!, compare trends in books for different keywords or subjects

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia Copyright 2009-2014 by Austin Whittall © 


  1. Speaking of South American hominids, Austin, do you know anything about the Mapinguary? I'd like to know as much as I can.

    1. Hi Kyle, thanks for the comment.

      Your comment inspired me to gather the data that I had compiled when writing my book (Monsters of Patagonia), and prepare a new short post on Mapinguari.

      The link is shown below, it has some links and plenty of information.

    2. I saw that! Thank you, Austin! Here's another question: is it true that the different spellings of the name (mapinguary and mapinguari) denote two different versions of this creature?

  2. Hi, They are different ways of spelling the name of the same creature. The "i" variation is the Portuguese one, though they also write it with a "y".


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