The Orphan Boy/Cooper Cabin


The Cooper family own the Orphan Boy mining claim, high up on Keller Mountain, deep in the Eagles Nest Wilderness. The cabin has been generously left open for all to use.

Tom Cooper passed away in February, 2003. His son Nat delivered the eulogy at a memorial service at the Denver Botanical Gardens, attended by several hundred friends and family members. An excerpt is below. Click here for the entire eulogy.

A family memorial service was also held on Pebble Creek. Pictures are HERE


"Tom had a special place in his heart for the Gore range- exploring it, hiking through it, and introducing people to it.... In the early sixties we were backpacking high on the ridge between Rock and Boulder Creeks when Tony spied the reflection of a window pane far below at an old, abandoned, but reasonably well preserved cabin, Tom's beloved patented claim, the Orphan Boy Lode. Many of you have been to the Orphan Boy, many of you more than once. Tom loved to challenge himself by going to the cabin late into his seventies. He loved the Colorado history, the clear cool air, the high, craggy mountain cirques, the snowfields and the springfed mountain creeks.

Many years ago when his friend Ed Hilliard died in a mountaineering accident in the Maroon Bells, Tom volunteered the Orphan Boy and the entourage of friends buried Ed in one of those high crags. Don't tell the Forest Service- it might not fit in their current definition of multi or wise-use. On the way out, the funeral party- many Colorado wilderness conservationists, many of you here today, put their beliefs and words into action and dragged a hundred trees across that old sinuous Jeep road, letting Ed rest as he would have liked it, a little farther away, a little harder to get to."

getting there: send an email to bill.betz@ucdenver.edu for more information