An Indo-Canadian teen received a new lease on life as 2019 drew to a close after he miraculously survived a 500-foot fall from Mount Hood, the highest summit in Oregon.
News reports said Gurbaz Singh, a 16-year-old from Surrey, was ascending the peak with friends on Dec. 31, when he lost his footing on ice and fell from a section of the mountain known as The Pearly Gates to the Devil’s Kitchen area below. This was Singh’s 90th mountain climb.
According to news reports in the Richmond Times Dispatch and CNN affiliate KATU, it took rescue crews about four hours to reach Singh, and another four to carry him down the mountain on a stretcher. Singh was then transported to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland. He underwent a surgery the same day to repair his broken femur.
Singh told CTV News that he credits his training and wearing a helmet as reasons why his injuries weren’t more severe. “We looked at my helmet afterwards and it was just destroyed... I’m so lucky,” he said.
Meanwhile, his father, Rishamdeep Singh, who drove down to Oregon to be with his son, told KATU that Gurbaz Singh was in good spirits. “He thought he was going to stop somewhere, and he was trying to arrest the fall with his ax, but it just didn’t happen because he was rolling so fast that he couldn’t do it,” he told KATU.
He also told the news channel that the fall won’t deter his son from pursuing his passion for climbing. He said both father and son plan to return to Mount Hood and complete the climb together.
According to U.S. Forest Service data, the 11,239-foot Mountain Hood is the highest mountain in Oregon and one of the most-climbed mountains in the world. More than 10,000 people make the technical ascent to its summit every year.