The Yeti of the Matterhorn or, "Harold" is a character from the Disneyland attraction Matterhorn Bobsleds.

History[edit | edit source]

Real-Life[edit | edit source]

The Yeti had been a part of Tibetan folklore for centuries,  traditionally named to: g.ya' dred,  Yachê, and  g.ya' which would later be anglicized as, "Yeti". Most traditional names referencing the creature being along the lines of a man/bear hybrid or giant bear, namely the Himalayan Brown Bear.

In 1921, as European explorers traveled through Nepal, they reported finding large inhuman footprints, which some of the locals identified as, "Metoh-kangmi" which the British interpreted as, "Abominable Snowman" while in reality it translated to, "Man-Bear of the Snows" .  The iconography of the yeti as an, "Ape-Man" was predominately created by Western pop-culture due to a trend of racists altering regional cultural traditions into said caveman-like monster to support pseudo-scientific theories on eugenics.

The first alleged sightings of the yeti was recorded by British naturalist Brian H. Hodgson, in a footnote in a book about mammals from Nepal. No one has been able to find a Yeti or even conclusive evidence that one exists, but its place in popular culture and world mysteries is a cemented one. It is widely believed that the yeti is a mythologized and misidentified Himalayan Brown-Bear given DNA testing on samples mostly being of brown bear samples, Himalayan Brown Bears living in the yeti's supposed habitat, the traditional names of the Yeti referring to it as being a bear, brown bears being able to stand and walk on their hind-legs giving them human-like figures in the conditions of the Himalayas, bear hands looking near identical to those of humans, and the foot prints spotted in 1921 being believed to be bear footprints altered by wind.

Disney Parks[edit | edit source]

The original Disneyland yeti figure

Many have attempted to trek the surface and caverns of the Matterhorn over the years only to be met by tragedy, if not by the mountain itself then by the yeti which inhabits it. Said yeti would keep trophies of certain victims illustrating the doomed expeditions and ascents of bobsledding teams, alphorn playing mountaineers, and even gondola lifts known as, "Skyways" or, "Skyway buckets" which at some point passed through the mountain. Despite this, the village at the base of the mountain was well known for offering bobsledding excursions through the mountain for tourists and regularly sending mountaineers to its peak.

One presumably doomed expedition through the Matterhorn was that of the Wells Expedition which was likely launched in the late 19th- 20th century given their known resources. This expedition seemed to encounter the crystal caverns of the Matterhorn only to become victims of the yeti. An expedition (possibly the same as the Wells expedition though this is speculative) would find a foot-print of the yeti on the South Slope of the mountain on the May 27th of 1978. A cast would be made of this footprint and put on display in the Swiss village at the mountain's base.

Appearances and allusions[edit | edit source]

The Yeti's lair and collection of trophies

Matterhorn Bobsleds[edit | edit source]

The yeti is the main antagonist of this attraction, chasing bobsled riders through the mountain and its caverns before they can make their escape. The yeti's lair is also passed by which contains several remnants of its former victims such as the Wells expedition, skyway buckets and bobsleds from over the years.

Expedition Everest[edit | edit source]

The Forbidden Mountain of the Himalayas and the Matterhorn are both Disney Parks mountains which are home to territorial yetis. Expedition Everest contains several subtle references/homages to Matterhorn Bobsleds as a result. Notably at the end of the ride, advertisements and promotional materials utilized white-furred, blue-skinned, fanged yetis as mascots for yeti-gimmicked paraphernalia. In particular is the, "Yeti Brand Tinned Meat" which has the quote, "Hygienic, Tasty and Compact" from mountaineer Klaus Wesselhoft, a mountaineer who scaled the Matterhorn in the film Third Man on the Mountain (1959).[1]

The Yeti of the Matterhorn however looks considerably different from its Himalayan counterpart; it around 6' tall while the Everest yeti is is 25' tall, the Matterhorn Yeti has white fur not covering its face or hands revealing blue skin while the Himalayan yeti has brown fur completely covering its body with some pink flesh being visible, and the Matterhorn yeti having red eyes while the Himalayan yeti has yellow eyes.

Wilderness Explorers[edit | edit source]

The depictions of the yeti in the Wilderness Explorers Guidebook (belonging to the Wilderness Explorers group from Up) for its section dedicated to Anandapur are modelled after the Matterhorn's yeti from the Disney attraction Matterhorn Bobsleds rather than the Yeti of Expedition Everest.[2]

The Tivan Group's yeti.

Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT![edit | edit source]

The original yeti animatronic from Matterhorn Bobsleds in in storage within the Collector's Fortress. It is unknown what the nature of this appearance is I.E. if it is intended to be an a canonical audio-animatronic/robot, a taxidermy/petrified alien which incidentally resembles the yeti, or perhaps a taxidermy yeti taken from the matterhorn or some other ecosystem with yetis. Another theory to rationalize this is that the original yeti and current yeti are actually separate members of the same species but the original was killed/captured and obtained by the Collector.

Connections[edit | edit source]

Skipper Canteen[edit | edit source]

Two books in the Jungle Navigation Co. Skipper Canteen might indirectly reference the the Matterhorn's yeti. One is a book called, "Scaling the Matterhorn" which is an allusion to the attraction Matterhorn Bobsleds where the yeti makes its home. Another is a book by S.E.A. member Harrison Hightower III from Tower of Terror which detailing his hunts for the yeti. While oriented towards Expedition Everest, it is possible that the Matterhorn Yeti might have been involved within his search.

Other[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The original Yeti figure was a repurposed gorilla animatronic from the Jungle Cruise.[3]
  • A wampa (yeti inspired creature from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back) posed to resemble the original yeti animatronic of the matterhorn is visible in Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.[4]

References[edit | edit source]

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