|"PROF. PARKER LAYS BARE MOUNT MCKINLEY FAKE OF DR. COOK—MAKES A
DUPLICATE PHOTOGRAPH OF HIS FAMOUS “TOP OF THE CONTINENT" AT
AN ELEVATION OF ONLY 5,000 FEET AND 20 MILES AWAY FROM THE
BASE OF THE GIANT ALASKAN PEAK
|—EXPOSURE BY EDWARD BARRILL IS COMPLETELY
CORROBORATED—WITH MAP MADE BY FORMER GUIDE AND DR. COOK'S OWN
PHOTOGRAPH NOTED EXPLORER AND MOUNTAIN CLIMBER HAS NO TROUBLE IN
LOCATING THE SPOT."
Prof. Parker, of Columbia University, Photographs Dr.
Cook's Peak Many Miles from Mount McKinley.
It will be remembered that upon Dr. Cook's return from the Arctic
regions in 1909 the guide whom he alleged went to the top of Mount
McKinley with him announced that they never had been to the summit
and that the picture Dr. Cook took with this guide holding a flag
on the top was miles from the peak. Dr. Cook, with respect to
this, asserted that this was merely a plot of Admiral Peary to
ruin him. Anyone, however, who takes the trouble to examine the
newspaper files of that period can readily ascertain for himself
that this guide repudiated Cook's claim before it was even known
that Peary had reached the North Pole, for at the time he had not
yet been even heard from. This guide subsequently drew a map upon
which he located the peak which was photographed as the summit of
|DESCRIBES ANOTHER RIDGE.
“That the evidence before the committee is to the effect that it
would be utterly impossible to ascend the glaciers and frozen snow
slopes wearing the rubber shoepacks which Dr. Cook states in his
book he wore while making the ascent.
“That Dr. Cook's description of the ascent of Mount McKinley on
the northeast ridge, which is the ridge by which he claimed to
have reached the peak, is in reality, a description of the
southeast ridge. The former ridge was explored by him on a
previous expedition and in his book he declares it impossible as a
route to the peak.”
Washburn roasts Cook's
phony McKinley story
Triple reprint compares Fred's phony version with the real thing by the first
team to climb McKinley.
Cook's 1903 McKinley
team member exposed Fred as a fraud
|DECLARES PICTURES FAKES.
Brown fortifies his charges with the declaration that Cook and
Barrill had no ice creepers, and that, though Dr. Cook afterwards
told Prof. Parker that he and Barrill were roped together every
foot of the last stages, Prof. Parker and Brown both remembered
that they destroyed the climbing rope as defective before they
quit the expedition. Furthermore, in none of the pictures
published in Dr. Cook's book does a climbing rope appear.
Brown and Sheldon also report that various photographs in Dr.
Cook's book do not represent the peaks they are said to picture;
while Sheldon, denies that he is the author of the appendix C in
the book which Dr. Cook credits to him.
|HIS PLANS NOT FEASIBLE.
Prof. Parker reports that he was a partner with Dr. Cook in the
McKinley expedition, both physically and financially, Dr. Cook
assumed the lead with a plan which proved unfeasible, and the
party escaped with their lives, thanks to the local knowledge of
Belmore Brown, one of its members. “It was perfectly understood,”
says Prof. Parker, “that after the misadventure all further
attempts were abandoned for the season.” Otherwise Prof. Parker
would not have left the expedition.
Instead of this, Dr. Cook, it is charged, sidetracked all members
of the expedition until there remained only himself, his guide,
Barrill, and one packer, who was subsequently got rid of also.
These defections left Dr. Cook, says Prof. Parker, no instruments
capable of measuring the altitudes he says he attained. Moreover,
he adds, the summer's experience had shown that of all the party
Dr. Cook and Barrill were the least fitted physically for arduous
Belmore Brown, in the main, confirms Prof. Parker, and says also
that in Dr. Cook's book there is not one date given from the time
he left the Chulitna River. This makes intelligent criticism
impossible, he declares. Brown asserts further that he never saw
Dr. Cook make a
single aneroid barometer reading during the whole trip. Confirming
a charge that has previously been made, he says that Dr. Cook was
known to be in serious financial straits, and would have had great
difficulty in getting out of Alaska if he had not reported that he
attained the summit of Mount McKinley.
||Cook bribed his guide Ed Barrill (left).
"Dr. Cook was known
to be in serious financial straits, and would have had great
difficulty in getting out of Alaska if he had not reported
that he attained the summit of Mount McKinley."
From Travel Magazine, 1910
|Dr. Cook's Claim to Having Ascended to the Summit
Mount McKinley, in Alaska.
Dr. Cook's contention that he ascended to the summit of Mount
McKinley two or three years prior to his claim with respect to the
North Pole is a matter with which the public generally is so
thoroughly familiar that it is hardly worth while to comment
thereon extensively. The Delegate in Congress from Alaska, who
himself attempted the first ascent to the summit of the mountain
in the year 1903, does not hesitate to say with respect to Dr.
|"All of us who know anything about Mount McKinley know that Cook's
story of his successful ascent of that mountain is a deliberate
falsehood. * * * His story was so fraudulent, that one does not
have time to talk about it."
Explorers' Club Investigate and Reject Dr. Cook's Claim to
Have Climbed Mount McKinley and Then Expel Him from Membership.
The Explorers' Club, after investigating Dr. Cook's claim to have
climbed Mount McKinley, rejected it and expelled him from
membership. The following account of their action I take from
report in the Washington Post of December 25, 1909:
CLUB EXPELS COOK—EXPLORERS DECLARE MOUNT MCKINLEY “ASCENT” A
FRAUD—EXPOSED IN LONG REPORT—NEEDING MONEY, FORMER FRIENDS SAY, HE
PUT UP THE JOB—ASSOCIATES ON THE TRIP TO ALASKA ASSERT THAT
PICTURES, HIS CLAIMS, AND HIS BOOK ARE ALL A SERIES OF PALPABLE
FAKES—PHOTOGRAPHED ONE SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN AND MADE IT APPEAR TO
BE ANOTHER—HAD NO INSTRUMENTS.
NEW YORK, December 24, 1909
The board of governors of the Explorers' Club met to-day in
executive session and, standing in silence, voted with bowed heads
that Dr. Frederick A. Cook be dropped from the rolls of the club
for frauds practiced on its members and on the public. Preliminary
to its vote of expulsion
the board met to pass upon the report of its committee, which has
been investigating the validity of Dr. Cook's assertion that he
reached, the summit of Mount McKinley. This committee, in
concluding an exhaustive report, recommended that—
“Dr. Cook's claim that he ascended the summit of Mount McKinley in
1906 be rejected by the Explorers' Club as unworthy of credence.”
The committee's recommendation was based on its finding that—“Dr. Cook had repeatedly made statements that have not been in
accord with the facts, and that he had entered into agreements
which he has failed to keep, and that the misstatements and broken
agreements deal not only with matters appertaining to discovery,
but to ordinary financial transactions, so that no credence can be
given to statements made by him.”
FRIENDS AMONG SIGNERS.
Among the signatures appended were those of Whitney and Anthony
Fiala, both personal friends of Dr. Cook. The committee Is further
explicit in its statement that it undertook its investigation only
after first apprising Dr. Cook of its purpose, which he approved
in person; and that it has disregarded the testimony of Edward
Barrill, Dr. Cook's guide, and of Frederick Printz, his packer,
although such testimony was before them—because it wished no cloud
of partisan contention or question of financial interest to dim
the integrity of its verdict.
In addition to Whitney and Fiala, the report is signed by
Frederick S. Dallenbaugh, of the American Geographical Society;
Prof. Marshal H. Saville, of the chair of archaeology in Columbia
University; Walter G. Clark, Charles H. Townsend, director of the
New York aquarium, and Henry G. Walsh, secretary of the Explorers'
Club, and individual signed reports are submitted by Herschel C.
Parker, professor of physics at Columbia, and Belmore Brown, both
of whom are members of the Cook-McKinley expedition, and by
Charles Sheldon who has recently returned from a year's residence
on the slope of Mount McKinley, where he went for the purpose of
studying the configuration of the mountain, with a view to the
possibility of its ascent.
The committee as a whole, therefore, concludes in part that—
“Dr. Cook's account of the ascent is not only such as to be
unconvincing to the experienced mountaineer, but that under
analysis it becomes incredible.
“That he entered into a secret financial agreement with a
publisher which resulted in embarrassment to his associates.
“That he broke his agreement with his fellow club members to
supply his original photographs and data upon which his book was
Prof. Parker, of Columbia University, subsequently took this map
to Alaska in an effort to locate this fake peak.
The following newspaper clipping sets forth his report upon the
Indisputable evidence of the falsity of Dr. Frederick A. Cook's
claim to having ascended to the top of Mount McKinley, the highest
peak in North America, is furnished by Prof. Herschal C. Parker,
of Columbia University, who has just returned to New York City
from his latest trip to Alaska. Prof. Parker undertook the journey
during the past summer to settle once and for all time the
question of Dr. Cook's veracity as to the Mount McKinley episode,
and the proofs he has brought back with him show beyond a shadow
of a doubt that the man who failed miserably in his attempt to rob
Capt. Robert E. Peary of the credit of having discovered the North
Pole was 20 miles away in an air line from the “Top of the
Continent” at the time he claims to have stood on the utmost
height of the snow-capped peak.
The most important piece of evidence obtained by Prof. Parker, and
which not even the most ardent supporter of Dr. Cook can question,
if there be any left who still believe in him, is a duplicate
photograph of Dr. Cook's Top of the Continent, or, as he was
pleased to also term it, the ultima thule of his ambition. * * *
The most cursory examination of the two pictures will show that
they are photographs of the same rock, while a tracing of the
outlines of each leaves no doubt of it.
Archdeacon Stuck, of Alaska, Exposes Dr. Cook.
The Rev. Dr. Hudson Stuck, archdeacon of the Yukon, in 1913 made
the first accepted ascent of the summit.
In his book upon the
subject, published by Scribners in 1914, after tracing Dr. Cook's
account of his alleged trip with the packer Barrille to a point on
a glacier several miles from Mount McKinley, then asserted:
From this point “up and up to the heaven-scraped granite of the
top" Dr. Cook grows grandiloquent and vague, for at this point his
true narrative ends.
The claims that Dr. Cook made on his return are well known, but it
is quite impossible to follow his course from the description
given in his book, To the Top of the Continent.
Dr. Cook talks “about the heaven-scraped granite of the top” and
“the dazzling whiteness of the frosted granite blocks.” and prints
a photograph of the top showing granite slabs. There is no rock of
any kind on the south (the higher) peak above 19,000 feet. The
last 1,500 feet of the mountain is all permanent snow and ice: nor
is the conformation of the summit in the least like the photograph
printed as “the top of Mount McKinley.”
But it is not worth while to pursue the subject further. The
present writer feels confident that any man who climbs to the top
of Denali (Mount McKinley) and then reads Dr. Cook's account of
his ascent will not need Edward Barrille's
(note: incorrect spelling of Barrill is from original text) affidavit to convince
him that Cook's narrative is untrue. Indignation is, however,
swallowed up in pity when one thinks upon the really excellent
pioneering and exploring work done by this man and realizes that
the immediate success of the imposition about the ascent of Denali
(Mount McKinley) doubtless led to the more audacious imposition
about the discovery of the North Pole and that to his discredit
All text on
this page is from the 1915 Fess speech to Congress.