Mysterious "Man-Chimp" spotted in Keystone |

Mysterious "Man-Chimp" spotted in Keystone

The only photo of the Hot Pink Gorilla of Summit County is this blurry image taken by a young camper in 1992.

Last weekend near Elk Run in Keystone, Sethly Adams of Frisco was taking an evening stroll on the slowly melting bike path when he encountered what he described as a large “man-chimp.”

“I was enjoying the sunshine when something caught my eye,” says Adams. “It must’ve been 9 feet tall at least.”

This isn’t the only report of a “man-panzee” in the High Country. Summit County’s original residents, the Ute Indians, made petroglyphs of large apes and told legends of “hairy man-beasts” dating back to the mid 1400s. Summit County was referred to by local tribes as “Gee-tow-ta-own-lay-new” or “place where the giant men walked.” During the great blizzard of 1890, Old Keystone Village resident Eric Erikson reported coming across large, “powerful” men who tried to take refuge in some of the village homes. “They were covered in fur and spoke in a way I couldn’t understand,” said Erikson.

The sightings have continued into the 20th and 21st centuries. In the summer of 1969, a mother and son out on a dirt-bike ride in Dillon crashed after seeing something incredible. “There was a large, very large, white creature squatting down on the edge of the pond, with its knees on either side of its body, reaching down into the water,” stated the mother. “It was covered in 5-7 inches of white fur and its body was bulky and muscular. This thing must have weighed at least 800 pounds.”

At least six more sightings have been reported since 1998, most occurring between Copper Mountain and the Climax Mine on CO Highway 91. One witness described the creature he saw as “hairy from head to toe, very thick with broad shoulders, lacking the long snout and round rump that bears have.” In 2003, a U.S. Forest Service Ranger obtained a plaster cast of a large footprint in Silverthorne (however, Joe Morales, who was sheriff at the time, believes the print to be a hoax).

When asked if the beast he spotted was aggressive, Sethly Adams said, “It didn’t seem to be. It looked at me sort of curiously from about 30 feet away and I stared right back at it. It was like a gorilla, but more of a man-chimp. Also … this is gonna sound crazy, but I swear it was pink. Hot pink.”

Maybe not so crazy after all. Generations of Keystone Science School summer campers have sung a traditional camp song entitled “Hot Pink Gorilla.” Though the song’s origins are unknown, many a camper has returned from a Summit County woodland hike shrieking about spotting a glimpse of such a creature lumbering along the Snake River. All reports describe the creature as large and ape-like with long pink fur.

Cryptozoologist Dr. Julius Von Kidney thinks the “Hot Pink Gorilla” reports could be credible. Last July, Dr. Von Kidney, renowned for his recent find of a live trilobite in a Russian pond, paid a visit to Keystone Science School.

“The descriptions match up to those of creature that is thought to have migrated north from South America,” he said. “I do not see it as a threat to people because it is known to feed primarily on crustaceans, primarily a specific variety of brine shrimp commonly known as ‘sea monkeys’.” Apparently these shrimp contain unusually high levels of carotenoids, which, when consumed in large amounts, can turn skin – and perhaps fur – a brilliant shade of pink. Von Kidney could not account for the Hot Pink Gorilla’s presence in Summit County, where no such shrimp exist, and surmised that perhaps the creature has adapted to the mountain environment by finding another source of carotenoids, such as marigold flowers, which are plentiful in Summit County gardens. Keystone Science School wonders, too, whether the creature may have been drawn to the Keystone area by the sweet strains of children singing, “Right downtown and left on Main, hot pink gorilla was going insane …”

Mr. Adams’ recent sighting has spurred renewed interest in this usually reclusive creature, and Keystone Science School encourages anyone who catches a glimpse of pink in the woods to report their sighting immediately to School staff, who remain in close contact with Dr. Von Kidney as he continues to track this fascinating specimen. All reports can be emailed to

Joel Egbert is the summer camp director at Keystone Science School. To join us in the search for the Hot Pink Gorilla, register now for summer camp programs at KSS: Also visit the internet to search for the Hot Pink Gorilla on You Tube and Facebook.

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