KATMANDU, Nepal - China changed its mind and approved over the weekend a British-American expedition to climb an unconquered Himalayan peak in Tibet to hunt for the Abominable Snowman.

Chris Bonington, the expedition's leader, said Sunday that he had received permission Saturday evening, a few days after Chinese authorities blocked the expedition. At the time, the Chinese said it was inconvenient for the team to cross into Tibet from Nepal. On Saturday night, the China Mountaineering Association in Peking sent a message giving approval for the expedition. The message included no reason for the earlier delay, however.

The team will leave Katmandu today for the border. The group hopes to make the first ascent of Mount Menlungtse, a 23,458-foot peak in south-central Tibet, with three British and American climbers. 

A different five-man party is to search in the same area for the Abominable Snowman, or yeti, using special night sights to try to spot the creature after dark.

Chris Bonington said that he led an unsuccessful attempt last spring to conquer the peak and that in the attempt, some of his team spotted fresh tracks of a small, two-legged creature that could have been a ''chuti,'' the Tibetan name for a yeti.

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH - Monday, April 11, 1988
(c) 1988 Reuters News Service

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