1995 Distinguished Service Award

Dennis Miller

The 1995 Distinguished Service Award was presented to Dennis Miller. Dennis, a member since 1977, graduated from the Basic Climbing Course, became a climb leader, and earned the Everett Bronze and Silver Climbing pins.  One peak shy of the Gold pin, his attempt on Big Four was abandoned when another climber fell. With all available ropes used to stabilize and protect the victim, Dennis was one of two party members who volunteered for an unroped descent to summon a rescue. 

In the summer of 1980, Dennis joined a Mountaineer foreign outing for 5 weeks of climbing in the Bavarian Alps and Italian Dolomites. He counts the Wildspitze, Grosse Zinne, and Vajolet Towers amongst his favorite summits.

By the mid-80's, the standard approaches to Mt. Stickney had become inaccessible due to washouts, brush and downed timber. Dennis was convinced that an abandoned road in the Olney Creek drainage offered viable access to the West Ridge and led a series of exploratory climbs to scout that approach. The effort did not go unnoticed by Fred Becky who solicited Dennis for the details which were eventually published as the preferred route in second edition of the Cascade Alpine Climbing Guide Volume 2.

After marrying Dana (who he met in Mountaineer folk dancing classes) and starting a family, Dennis sought a "less adventurous" way to enjoy mountain ascents.  Alpine Scrambling was a perfect fit, but Everett did not have a scrambling program at the time.  Along with Ron Smith and Neil Johnson, the trio convened a Scrambling Committee and went to work. 1987 marked the first course with 7 students, 1 graduate, and a promising future. Dennis served as chair of the Scrambling Committee until he was elected to the office of Branch Chair in 1991. 

From 1986-87, Dennis was the Branch Treasurer and he continues to assist the succession of treasurers as the job has become more rigorous.  During his tenure, Dennis pioneered annual budgeting, computerized record keeping and a Branch checking account. 

Prior being elected as Branch Chair, he served on two clubhouse feasibility studies, two bylaws revision committees, and a task force to evaluate the effectiveness of different ice-ax arrest techniques. 

Dennis served as Branch Chair for two years.  As Chair, he oversaw completion of the Branch Operations Manual and continued to serve as an active member of the club's the Accounting Advisory Committee.  He also advocated proactive leader training and started the Leader Development Program to address that need.

Dennis embraced skiing--his favorite outdoor activity--by graduating the Nordic Ski Course and the Telemark Ski Course in the second year it was offered. He continues to be active as a trip leader and with various roles on the Ski Committee. 

The entire Miller family is engaged  with the Mountaineers. His wife Dana is our membership chair; his sons, Scott and Craig participate in skiing and hiking activities. At age 10, Scott earned his Nordic Skiing certificate—the youngest ever to graduate.

In 1984, Dennis and Dana chaired the Branch Awards Banquet--the first ever held at the recently-opened clubhouse near the Seattle Center. Dennis, wanting to recognize a highly involved and dedicated volunteer, approached the Executive Committee to inaugurate a Distinguished Service Award. Now, eleven years later, the Everett Branch gives the honor of Distinguished Service to a much-deserving member, Dennis Miller.