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The Hull Cook Journals

April 2, 2010 Climb, Hike 6 Comments

Hull Cook at Chasm View on Longs Peak. Photo by H.P. Ziedema

Starting next week, we’ve got a real treat in store for Colorado MoJo readers. During the late 1920s and early ’30s, a small hut stood at the Boulderfield on Longs Peak, at about 12,750 feet. Guests could hike or ride horseback to the Boulderfield Shelter Cabin, spend the night in relative comfort with bunks and hot meals, and climb the 14,259-foot peak in the morning, usually by the north face, which was equipped in those days with steel cables for hand rails. For two or three years during the early ’30s, Hull Cook worked at the Boulderfield Shelter Cabin, and his feats as a guide and rescuer have become legendary. Now, thanks to his son, Hull “Cactus” Cook from Bellingham, Washington, we are able to bring you Cook’s first-person, never-published tales.

Cook was born in 1911 and grew up in Boulder, not far from the Flatirons. He worked at the Boulderfield during summer breaks from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, which he attended from 1931 through 1935. Cook and the other young climbers living at the Boulderfield were among the first professional mountain guides in the U.S. (He and Ev Long placed the first bolts on the famous east face of the Third Flatiron, hoping to establish a guiding route that never took off.) “My father led a full life after his time on Longs, including many years as a country physician in small-town Nebraska,” Cactus Cook said. “I have no doubt, however, that the acme of his lifetime was those summers spent scampering above timberline on Longs Peak. He, Zumie [Clerin Zumwalt], and my godfather, Ev Long, remained fast friends for life.”

In Hull Cook’s introduction to the stories he called The Boulderfield Hotel: My Recollections of a Legend, he writes, “Some of the events which I have described suggest egotistical bragging…. Maybe I am bragging, but I hasten to concede that everything that we Boulderfield boys did could be equaled or exceeded by almost any determined person who is in top-notch physical condition. Our climbs were actually far less technically difficult than many that are performed almost routinely today…. I make no claim to our being supermen. We were just a bunch of young fellows reveling in the strength and exuberance of youth.”

Many thanks to Cactus Cook for sharing his father’s wonderful tales. We’ll begin publishing chapters from the memoir next Wednesday, continuing each week through the spring.

Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. Amelia says:

    Very excited to read these stories! Thanks for publishing them.

  2. MJ says:

    Is this available as a book for purchase anywhere? These are great stories!

  3. MoJo says:

    These stories have not been collected in book form, though there is a manuscript. We obtained the manuscript and permission to publish excerpts from Hull “Cactus” Cook, the son of the Hull Cook featured in these tales.

  4. jeff says:

    What amazing experiences Dr. Cook had. I feel so fortunate that I’ve found this website and have been able to enjoy Dr. Cooks journal entries. Thanks

  5. Jeff says:

    Awesome!!!! Are they ever going to be published in book form! These stories need to be made into a movie!!!!

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Recent Comments

  • Jamie Jones: The secret chute was only a secret top all you easterners....
  • Jeff: Awesome!!!! Are they ever going to be published in book form! These stories need to be made into a movie!!!!...
  • Karen D McCall: What a story, I read every word, absolutely enthralled. As an aging outdoor enthusiast headed for hip replacement, I can...
  • Kirk Miller: New rats in the Platte. Well done sir....
  • Dale: I met Clerin Zumwalt hiking on the Long's Peak trail back in the 1990's. He was with his family and was wearing his RMNP...
  • Ben Collett: Dougald, I miss the updates on this site. Anyway, there is a great route on the 4th Flatiron (see MP.com for details) th...
  • Tim: Thanks for the great writeup. We just did this loop yesterday and had a blast. Do you know if anyone has skied the coulo...
  • 14er Sports: Awesome accomplishment!...
  • Kailas: Yes Wick there are that many people. And they are all from back east or Texass... booooo. I've skied up here for ove...
  • jeff: What amazing experiences Dr. Cook had. I feel so fortunate that I've found this website and have been able to enjoy Dr. ...

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