Saturday, January 25, 2014, was a beautiful, sunny day; the type of winter day outdoor enthusiasts embrace.
Unfortunately, the series of warm days and cold nights created icy conditions at lower mountain elevations than expected – something not known until skiers, hikers and climbers were out in the conditions.
Accidents are called just that for a reason. Hikers and climbers prepare, bring the right equipment, the right personnel, but sometimes things just happen; things out of anyone’s control, and tragedy occurs.
That’s what happened to 36-year old experienced hiker and lover of all things outdoors, Diane Larson, and her hiking group from Climbers with a Purpose this past weekend on Vesper Peak.
It was Diane’s first hike with the local group, which she had heard about from friends. She was excited to hike with the group that was working to raise money to build a youth hostel/school in Burma.
Climbers with a Purpose founder, Will Neiss, said Diane simply turned her head to hear what was said and her foot slipped on the icy surface. That little slip caused her to fall about 100-150 feet. Will said it wasn’t a steep fall, but that Diane hit her head on a large chunk of ice.
He stayed with her. He prayed with her. They called for rescue crews. They even had group members who worked in the medical field. They were as prepared as they could be, but they couldn’t save Diane.
This weekend the community will come together to honor a life taken too soon. A life full of purpose and serving. A life full of spirit and kindness. A young woman who will be missed by many in the Snoqualmie Valley community where she lived and worked.
Diane Larson | November 2, 1977 ~ January 25, 2014 | A Life of Serving
Diane grew up in Michigan and came to the Pacific Northwest to earn her Masters Degree in International Care and Community Development at Northwest University in Kirkland.
She was a champion of compassion ministry and worked in urban church plantings in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Chicago and New York. She lived in Alaska working as a school counselor and enjoyed helping at-risk youth.
Diane became on ordained minister in 2011 and in January 2013 began working at Northwest Ministry Network located on Snoqualmie Ridge, which led to many strong friendships Valley-wide.
While in Washington Diane invested countless hours serving the poor and underprivileged, volunteering with the Genesis Project and Mary’s Place in Seattle; Valley Renewal Center in Snoqualmie, as well as working with mentally disabled adults at Transitions in Bellevue.
Diane loved the outdoors and spent most of her free time in it. She loved hiking, snow shoeing, water skiing and biking. Friends say she was always planning her next outdoor adventure.
Diane Larson’s life was dedicated to serving and making a difference in the lives of others and those less fortunate – and being a good friend to anyone she met. Deborah Davis says she and other friends will continue working to raise money for Climbers with a Purpose in honor of Diane.
Reverend Diane Larson leaves behind a strong legacy and mission message about giving. She will be greatly missed by friends and co-workers in the Snoqualmie Valley, and many others across the country and world, whose lives she touched during her years of serving.
Diane is survived by her parents, two brothers, sister, three nieces and five nephews, including four month old triplet boys. A Celebration of Diane’s Life is scheduled for Saturday, February 1st at 11AM at Eastridge Church in Issaquah.
** A special thank you to Will Neiss, Deborah Davis and Tammy Blalock for sharing information and stories of Diane with me. I know her message and life’s work will live on. **