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

Surrey teen recalls ‘scary experience’ of falling down Oregon mountain

Gurbaz Singh broke his leg during a 150-metre fall 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 Boundary Park-area home. “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 indurance 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

Wally Oppal says policing ‘too important’ to be left to the police

Oppal was keynote speaker at a Surrey Board of Trade “Hot Topic Dialogue” breakfast event Wednesday

Flip-flopping pleas in Surrey man’s 2018 murder in West Kelowna

Following an shocking guilty plea on Feb. 25, Tejwant Danjou applied to retract that plea on Feb. 26

Surrey skater speeds his way to four golds, a silver at BC Winter Games

‘I just really enjoy going fast on the ice,’ says Barnett Liu, 14

‘Urgent’ need for Metro Vancouver homeless count volunteers

Organizers say another 100 people are sought to help in Surrey and Burnaby

UPDATE: Surrey RCMP say missing 14-year-old has been found and is safe

Brayden Ritchat, 14, had been last seen in the 10800-block of 141st Street in Whalley on Feb. 21

VIDEO: Minister says consider coronavirus outbreak when planning for spring break

Foreign Affairs minister points to rash of new cases appearing in places like Italy and Iran

Alberta tourist dies after plunge from 70-metre cliff in Stanley Park

The 26-year-old hopped a fence at Prospect Point on fell to a walkway below, police said

B.C. man who pulled a gun on off-duty cop gets two years in prison

Encounter also lead police to a home where 100 guns and explosives were found

New Westminster woman’s ‘out of character’ disappearance probed by police

She left without telling anyone, prompting investigation by Major Crimes Unit, police say

EDITORIAL: Fraser Health needs to be transparent to fight coronavirus panic

Fraser Health and other authorities are not helping by being vague in recent communications

Riverdale actress Lili Reinhart rescues puppy from Langley shelter

American actress named her adopted pup Milo

How clean is your favourite local restaurant or café?

Online inspection reports allow consumers to find health hazard of all food facilities in region

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Most Read