- "What's with this guy? He's got a nice place...for a beast-man."
- — Midna
Snowpeak Ruins (雪山の廃墟 Yukiyama no Haikyo?, Snowy Mountain Ruins, ) is the fifth dungeon in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. The dungeon is a mansion located in Hyrule's Peak Province. The item obtainable by Link in this dungeon is the Ball and Chain, the miniboss fought is Darkhammer, and the boss fought is Blizzeta. Interestingly, there are various paintings in the ruins that display Ordon Village, Arbiter's Grounds, and the Temple of Time.
The Snowpeak Ruins are a unique dungeon in that they serve as a place of residence for two Yetis, Yeto and Yeta, and it is apparent by the furnishings of the house that it was inhabited even before them. It is also one of the two dungeons of the game to have a unique Boss Key, its Boss Key being the Bedroom Key. Additionally, it does not feature a dungeon map, per se; instead, Link is given a mansion map by Yeta.
After Link meets Yeto at the top of Snowpeak, he learns that the Yeti has found a piece of the Mirror of Twilight, which he has stored back at his house. The pair sled back to Yeto's home, where Link sets about trying to find the key to the mansion's master bedroom, where the Mirror Shard apparently has been held. Yeto, meanwhile, attempts to help his wife to recover from an illness caused by the Mirror Shard by cooking soup for her.
Eventually, Link finds the key and Yeta recovers. However, when she leads Link to the Mirror Shard, she is possessed and transforms into the boss of the dungeon, Blizzeta. Link defeats her, returning her to her original form, and earns the Mirror Shard as a reward.
The front few rooms of the house are fairly safe, being the main living quarters of the Yetis. In this area there is the kitchen, where Yeto can be found cooking soup, and the adventurous Oocca, Ooccoo and Ooccoo Jr., can be found hidden behind several nearby crates inside a pot. There is also a room with a fireplace, where Yeta is sitting. Some parts of the dungeon are covered in ice or snow, which may hinder Link. The back parts of the mansion are frozen and infested with monsters, including a monstrous mini-boss called Darkhammer, who wields a Ball and Chain. After defeating him, Link takes the weapon for himself so that he can break through Ice Blocks. Before getting the Ball and Chain, though, the use of cannons is needed to shatter Ice Blocks and to defeat Freezards, as well as blasting icy obstacles in otherwise unreachable spots.
There is an easily missed Imp Poe at the entrance of the dungeon. The statues at the entrance host this Poe. But for Link to get to it he must utilize the Ball and Chain he gets later in the dungeon after he defeats the mini-boss.
For some unknown reason, hearts and fairies are non-existent in the Snowpeak Ruins (other than in the boss room, where hearts can be found in jars). Coupled with the amount of damage the numerous icy enemies can dish out, this dungeon often takes a toll on Link's health. The only health-restoring item in the dungeon is Yeto's Soup.
Snowpeak Ruins serves as the location for Snowpeak Ruins: Ranger.
Nothing is told of the history of the Snowpeak Ruins, but it is clear that the mansion was not constructed for Yeto and Yeta and must have been abandoned. Evidence for this is the way the Yeti use only a handful of rooms, while the rest of the mansion is left to rot; the mansion is also full of armor and weapons sized incorrectly for the Yeti. Whoever the previous owners of the mansion were, it seems likely that they were highly militaristic, as the mansion is built like a fortress with several towers featuring gun ports and large armories in various locations around the mansions with a strange coat of arms featured on the shields. It is also probable that they were quite wealthy, as evidenced by the numerous decorative items, including paintings, chandeliers, and fancy red carpets. Finally, it is probable that the Mansion was intended for domestic, as well as military, purposes, based on the presence of a master bedroom, a kitchen, and an atmosphere that the mansion was once more comfortable and impressive than a typical soldier's barracks. Other than that, very little is known as to how such a large palace became situated in such a remote location as the Snowpeak Province. However, a cave located in the Lanayru Province section of Hyrule Field contains matching equipment and decor. The proximity of this cave to Zora's Domain and the inclusion of Zora spears suggests a possible connection; this is unconfirmed, however. Also, interestingly, there are paintings of the Sacred Grove and the entrance to Arbiter's Grounds strewn around the dungeon, making possible connections that the owners were either Hylian, Gerudo, or both. Another given the place military theme and weapons it is possible that it may have a connection to the Sheikah (who are mysterious warriors that guard, serve, and protect the Royal Family of Hyrule) or potentially Knights of Hyrule or one of its members (possibly the Hero's Shade when he was still alive or Ashei's Father).
It is also possible that whoever constructed the Snowpeak Ruins also constructed a similar structure inside a frozen cavern located in the northern portion of Hyrule Field in Lanayru Province (near the entrance that connects Hyrule Field and Zora's Domain). This structure features weapons on the walls, banners, and giant moveable blocks similar to the ones found in Snowpeak Ruins. It is possible that these places may have been used as military outposts/bases for either Hyrulean Soldiers, Knights of Hyrule, Sheikah, or Gerudo in the past but eventually fell out of use.
Hero's Forgotten Fortress
One of Snowpeak Ruins potential owners could have been the Hero's Shade back when he was still alive. It is possible that at some point he built or lived in the Snowpeak Ruins, living alone in solitude possibly honing his skills waiting for the time in which he would be called once again to defend Hyrule. During that time, he may have acquired various pieces of military equipment and kept it in his home, preparing it to serve as his both his home and a hidden base for himself, cut off from the rest of Hyrule (giving him a safe place to retreat to). After the Hero's Shade pasted away, his mansion fortress was left abandoned and became the Snowpeak Ruins which was eventually discovered by the Yeti couple living on Snowpeak.
The similar looking cavern on Hyrule Field may have been created as a either temporary base or backup armory/hidden stronghold. It is possible that the Hero's Shade became more cautious with age and may have constructed both places in an attempt to counter any potential threat to himself and/or any of his potential allies. Given the number of weapons and armor contained in these places, it is possible that the Hero's Shade may have intended to supply them to any able bodied Hylians/Humans or any surviving Hyrulean military forces (Hyrulean Soldiers, Knights of Hyrule, or Sheikah) should Hyrule come under threat as a part of a contingency plan (for a worse case scenario) should Hyrule fall under the control of evil as it did to Ganondorf in Ocarina of Time. However since he likely did all this in secret (with his plans possibly being only known to a select few trusted allies if any), his contingency plans most likely died with him (thus explaining why they where not used to counter Zant's invasion).
The mansion could have also been the home to Ashei while she was raised with her father years ago. When Link first meets her, Ashei tells him that she grew up in the mountains with her father. For this to be logical, Ashei would have had to live in the Snowpeak Ruins, as it is the only supportive building known to exist in the mountains. The presence of various weapons and equipment could have inspired her training as a swordsman. This cannot be proved exactly, since Ashei is very young, while the Snowpeak Ruins appear to be older than at least a century. Also it is unknown if the Yeti couple lived in the mansion or even existed at the time.