Five generations of a family climb Mount Rainier
Bremerton resident Dianne Miller last summer was the fifth generation of her family to climb Mount Rainier, and they're not done yet.
If you aspire to climb Mount Rainier this year, now's the time to plan and prepare. But be on notice that you'll have competition from a Bremerton family with an impressive record.
Ever since she was a child, Dianne Miller of Bremerton had a weird feeling when she looked at the mountain.
"It was taunting me," said Miller, 50. "I wanted to climb it, but I was too scared."
Miller wasn't a mountaineer, but the desire was in her genes.
Last July, Miller along with her husband, Bob, and 22-year-old son, Peter, fulfilled her dream. As a result her family has now put five generations on the summit.
Miller still has the certificate from when her great-grandfather and grandfather, Edgar and Edward Allen Power of Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island, climbed the 14,411-foot peak in 1923. Her parents, Don and Charlotte Power of Seattle, reached the top in 1963 when Dianne was 1.
Dianne said nobody in her family ever told her she needed to climb Rainier, but she wanted to carry on the tradition.
"It was nice to conquer my fear and lay that burden down," she said.
"Five generations? Wow," said Peter Whittaker, whose famous mountaineering family founded Rainier's first guide service. "Wow ... I doubt any family has more than five. Very impressive."
The Millers trained by climbing Mount Adams and hired Ashford-based International Mountain Guides to lead the Rainier trip, but reaching the summit still proved to be a challenge.
When the going got tough she recalled the words her grandfather told her when she was a child. She was approaching a high dive at a lake, when she thought better of it and turned around and sat down.
"My grandfather said, 'A Power never turns back,' " Dianne said. "So I got back up and jumped.
"That (memory) was an encouragement to me as we climbed."
A month before the Millers climbed, an Olympia man was killed after being swept away by an avalanche. The incident added to Diane's concern about the trip.
"I was quaking in my shoes," Dianne said. "But our guides were great and knowledgeable and I felt safe."
So safe, in fact, that the Millers are planning to climb Mount Rainier again in 2012. This time Dianne is planning to take her nephew with them.
"I've been bitten by the climbing bug," she said.
As for the sixth generation to stand on top of the state's tallest peak, he's still in training. Peter has a 1-year-old son named Carter.
"We'll never tell him he has to do it," Dianne said. "I don't want him to have that burden. I want him to do it because he wants to."