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

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

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

The new 3,500 hectare conservancy in Tahltan territory is located next to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (BC Parks Photo)
New conservancy protects sacred Tahltan land near Mount Edziza Provincial Park

Project is a collaboration between Skeena Resources, conservation groups and the TCG

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

Most Read