Surrey teen survives 150-metre fall from top of Mount Hood
Gurbaz Singh, 16, suffered a broken leg when he slipped and fell near the summit of the Oregon mountain
A 16-year-old mountain climber from Surrey, B.C., has survived a 150-metre fall from the top of Mount Hood in Oregon.
Gurbaz Singh was climbing with friends on Monday when he lost his footing on ice and fell from a section known as The Pearly Gates, which leads to the summit, shattering his femur.
"It happened pretty quick, so it was kind of unexpected," said Singh in a brief interview from his hospital bed in Portland where he underwent surgery Tuesday.
"It looked like a cool mountain to climb. My friends wanted to do it so, why not?"
Singh fell at around 9 a.m. PT Monday while at an elevation of 3,200 metres, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office. It took rescuers over four hours to reach him, splint his leg and bring him down the mountain.
"The Pearly Gates is a narrow chute — almost like climbing up a chimney," said Sgt. Marcus Mendoza, a public relations officer with the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.
"The ice gave way because it's still early in the climbing season and it wasn't strong enough at this point."
MORE INFO: The 16-year-old climber fell from the Pearly Gates area of Mt. Hood (just below the final push to the summit) down to the Devil’s Kitchen. <br><br>(Map courtesy <a href="https://t.co/cwG946DJlQ">https://t.co/cwG946DJlQ</a> ) <a href="https://t.co/nXM6HQWyrd">pic.twitter.com/nXM6HQWyrd</a>—@ClackCoSheriff
Rescue crews were "amazed" Singh survived and only suffered a broken leg, Mendoza said.
"Professional mountaineers know that you cannot fall in that section ... there's nothing to stop you," he said.
Mendoza said Singh narrowly missed hitting a woman who was climbing behind him.
He estimates that 30 search and rescue (SAR) volunteers from three different organizations aided in the rescue. The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office co-ordinates all search and rescue efforts in the area.
Singh is a student at Tamanawis Secondary School.
UPDATE: The 16-year-old injured climber has been safely transported to <a href="https://twitter.com/timberlinelodge?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@timberlinelodge</a> , where an <a href="https://twitter.com/AMRHQ?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AMRHQ</a> ambulance awaits.<br><br>Thanks to all the search volunteers who helped with this successful operation today. <a href="https://t.co/o2n9GAgXrA">pic.twitter.com/o2n9GAgXrA</a>—@ClackCoSheriff
"He thought he was going to stop somewhere and he was trying to arrest the fall with his axe, but it just didn't happen because he was rolling so fast," Rishamdeep Singh told Oregon's KATU of his son's ordeal. "I thank everybody who's been of so much help to my son."
The elder Singh said his son is expected to make a full recovery and will be back climbing when his leg has healed.
He was attempting his 98th summit when he fell.
You can see rescuers working with the patient on <a href="https://twitter.com/KATUNews?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KATUNews</a> ‘ livestream now — they’ve made their way to Palmer Ski Lift: <a href="https://t.co/OSUVBIOeLB">https://t.co/OSUVBIOeLB</a> <a href="https://t.co/lzvOFyw0MS">pic.twitter.com/lzvOFyw0MS</a>—@ClackCoSheriff
With files from Carly Thomas