Gurbaz Singh at his family’s home, in the Boundary Park area of Surrey. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

‘It was just so fast’: B.C. teen recalls 150-metre fall down Oregon mountain

Surrey’s Gurbaz Singh broke his leg on Mount Hood on Dec. 30

Gurbaz Singh is thankful he’s alive to tell his story about falling down a mountain.

On Dec. 30, the Surrey teen was scaling Oregon’s Mount Hood with friends when he fell nearly 150 metres and broke his left thigh bone.

Surgically repaired the following day, the fractured femur is a reminder of the moment Gurbaz traversed an ice step that suddenly gave way, in an area known as the Pearly Gates.

“I was scouting it out and as I was going there, it was just so fast – everything broke and I was falling all of a sudden,” Gurbaz said Saturday during an interview at his family’s townhouse. “I had an axe and was checking it out, and then took a big step and that’s when I fell.”

• RELATED STORY: Surrey teen survives 500-foot fall while climbing mountain in Oregon.

He tumbled a few times before he instinctively tried to slow his fall, by creating friction with the snow below him.

“I don’t remember much, but I remember getting my hands out and managed to slow myself down, and I think that helped because I did end up stopping eventually.

“All I was thinking was, ‘I have to stop myself, I have to stop myself,’ and that’s what I learned in my training. If I kept going, eventually I would have went over a cliff, but I’m not certain about that,” he added.

“I was lucky to have survived. It could have been a lot worse.”

CLICK HERE to see rescue video.

Rescuers transported Gurbaz to a nearby lodge, and from there he was taken to hospital by ambulance.

At age 16, Gurbaz is already an experienced mountaineer who has done close to 100 peaks.

Over the past three years, his parents have done some hikes with him, but Gurbaz has progressed to join other, more experienced climbers on some adventures, including the one on Mount Hood.

“I used to be really fat and it was a weight-loss thing for me,” Gurbaz said of his hobby, “and slowly I lost the weight and got some endurance and started doing higher peaks and more technical stuff, as I got more experienced.

“It’s more mountaineering, I don’t climb with ropes that much,” he added. “I do what’s called peak bagging, so I count how many peaks I do.”

On New Year’s Day, fellow climber Mel Olson created an online fundraiser to help Gurbaz’s family pay for his hospital bills in Oregon.

“We hope he can go back to doing what he loves very soon,” Olsen posted to the gofundme.com page, which includes photos of his rescue. “I’ve created this page to assist him and his family in coping with the aftermath of this tragic accident and to get him back up on his feet as soon as possible.”

As of Monday, close to $9,000 has been raised on behalf of Rishamdeep Singh, Gurbaz’s father.

“It was a last-minute decision to go (to Mount Hood), so we tried to get insurance but couldn’t,” Gurbaz explained.

Rishamdeep said he has always encouraged his children to explore their passions and be independent.

“I know my son loves to climb and be on the mountains, so that’s what he will do,” Rishamdeep said. “We’ll take it slowly from here. This is his hobby, mountaineering and hiking, and apart from that he is also an honour-roll student in math and science. I’m very proud of him.”

A Grade 11 student at Tamanawis Secondary, Gurbaz is a member of the school kabaddi team, and was a competitive chess player as a preteen, before he got into mountaineering.

Now he’s learned to adjust to life with crutches, for the time being.

“I’m able to walk around a bit without crutches, and the pain’s gone down quite a bit, although it does hurt at night sometimes,” Gurbaz reported. “They say I might be running by spring break, so we’ll see – maybe April.”

“I might slowly ease back into it (climbing). It was a scary experience,” he continued. “From my experience I know this is an accident that could have happened to anyone,” he continued. “I don’t think I made any mistakes, I was just scouting it out and taking it slow, and it was an accident. You can be driving in your car and get into an accident, right?”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kelowna Rockets blow 4-goal lead in overtime loss to Calgary

Captain Nolan Foote made a brief return as Kelowna drops Family Day matinee 6-5

Soccer legend Bob Lenarduzzi to speak about dementia in Kelowna

Lenarduzzi will speak at the inaugural Breakfast to Remember on Mar. 10

Kelowna RCMP arrest alleged impaired driver

The driver is facing potential charges after power pole collision

West Kelowna Warriors host Trail Smoke Eaters

The Warriors are coming from a Saturday loss against the Vernon Vipers

UBCO announces new top boss for Okanagan campus

Lesley Cormack will start in the position this summer

Kelowna’s Family YMCA opens doors on Family Day

The entire day was free for the community

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

South Okanagan woman reflects on prestigious win at Westminster dog show

“Polly” the Scottish deerhound was crowned best in breed and reserve best hound.

RCMP report woman arrested after ramming police cruiser

Suspect wanted for crimes allegedly committed in Kelowna, Salmon Arm and 100 Mile House

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Most Read