Wildlife & Wild Places

“Snow Monster” Spotted in Mount Rainier Creek

Snow monster? Photo: Gisela Taranovski


A National Geographic reader just sent us this curious photo, which we have been staring at longingly today, as we sweat through the longest heat wave on record in the nation’s capital. Half of the country is suffering through a drought, so it’s especially refreshing to gaze at such cool slopes.

Gisela Taranovski, a former planner for Boeing and a kayak builder, tells us she shot this scene of nature’s whimsy on a snow-shoeing trip with her son and daughter-in-law to Washington State’s Mount Rainier in late December 2009.

“We were stopping by a creek to take in the scenery, when I noticed this strange phenomenon in the creek,” Taranovski told us via email. “There is nothing photoshopped, this is just the way it was.”

We find the interplay of water and ice compelling as well as cooling.

Have you seen figures in water you’d like to share?

Hint: If you have trouble finding the monster above, here’s a detail:

snow monster closeup
Detail of above. Photo: Gisela Taranovski



Brian Clark Howard is an Environment Writer and Editor at National Geographic News. He previously served as an editor for TheDailyGreen.com and E/The Environmental Magazine, and has written for TheAtlantic.com, FastCompany.com, PopularMechanics.com, Yahoo!, MSN, Miller-McCune and elsewhere. He is the co-author of six books, including Geothermal HVACGreen Lighting and Build Your Own Small Wind Power System.

  • katie

    I have a better one! where do I submit it?

  • kahvoon

    what is that?

  • Huh?

    Looks like ice to me

  • James

    Way to put that ‘journalism’ degree to work! Your parents must be proud.

  • Tna

    It took me quite a while to find whatever I was supposed to be seeing in this pic. But,once I did, cool. Not as clear as that face-in-the-clouds photo. But cool nonetheless.

  • Michael K of RP CA

    Fun is good. But this is about as non-newsworthy as it gets, especially for a respected organization like Natl Geo. Will Natl Geo also publish photos of clumps of seaweed that resemble a sea-monsters? Or how about pictures of waves in which one seems to glimpse a mythical mer-creature? Or wait, I know: how about pictures of dancing flames in which there seems to appear a demon or devil of some sort! Oh wait, no, that would be bad. People might think they were looking at the National Enquirer instead of a respected nature journal.

  • Stuart

    Not entirely sure what i’m supposed to be looking at. I think I vaugely seen an ice ‘iguana’.

  • Stuart

    Oooh right, now I see it. A Yeti face….not that I’ve seen many Yeti’s to be able to say for sure.

  • Ron

    The first time I look at the photo I already saw an image of a monkey!!

  • korrine


  • Nona

    …yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

  • andrew

    awesome wat a great find good imagination, it kinda looks like he pressed his face from under the ice. unless it,s a she.

  • photoplop

    ummm, ice,
    what are you talking about?
    there’s is nothing even suggestive of another form about this

  • Michael

    This is magical thinking and, as others have pointed out, not appropriate for National Geographic. There’s nothing here. It’s just some ice. Suggesting a face can be seen legitimizes the belief that “Jesus” also appears in burnt toast and stains on the wall. Is that next for your site? The planet is dying. These kinds of posts distract from vastly more important topics that could be discussed.

  • Henry

    @Michael If every other post on this website were like this, you’d have a point but they’re not and the occasional bit of whimsy is good for the circulation. Or so the voices tell me.

  • al

    Neither informative or entertaining.
    Just lame.

  • Domonique

    Snow Monster. Winter is coming, is it not? (Game of Thrones reference).

  • Esther

    Looks like Santaclause to me… 😉

  • Jay

    I think it’s neat, despite the apparent lack of imagination the majority of the other commenters have. Relax a little and enjoy nature, there’s no need to get offended. If it’s ‘just ice’ to you, I think you’re obviously missing the point of Nat Geo – the appreciation of nature in all its forms. It’s beautiful in and of itself. A few of you really need to get a sense of humour, and perhaps step down from your pedestals.

  • Achmed

    As this is from america, am quite sure this is the face of god as the face of jesus is seen everywhere from the naive americans…lol

  • julius Scott

    is that the abominal snowman hehe

  • Molly Burke Kirova

    It looks *exactly* like a frozen pet dog, poor thing. I can even see its nose. Didn’t anyone else see this?

  • Cannonball

    It’s Puff the Magic Dragon! : )

  • Luke

    It is Chewbacca !!!!!!

  • Rich

    They found a frozen Stellar’s Sea Cow in Washington!!!

  • […] Currents reader Theodora Martens saw our recent posts on the perceived face of a snow monster in a frozen creek and a face in the snow in eastern Canada. So she sent us the above photo and told […]

  • […] By Brian Clark Howard on National Geographic: […]

About the Blog

Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

Opinions are those of the blogger and/or the blogger’s organization, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Posters of blogs and comments are required to observe National Geographic’s community rules and other terms of service.

Voices director: David Braun (dbraun@ngs.org)

Social Media