By Alison Fox
January 02, 2020

A teen mountain climber miraculously survived a 500-foot fall from a snowy Oregon mountain this week.

The adventurous 16-year-old was out with friends when he fell from the Pearly Gates area of the state’s Mount Hood, which is just below the final section to get to the summit, according to CNN and the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office. He was visiting from Canada to complete his 90th climb.

While the teen fell down to the Devil’s Kitchen section of the mountain, a staggeringly long fall, he somehow only suffered a broken leg.

According to the sheriff's office, officials first received a call about the injured climber around 9 a.m. with rescuers reaching him and splinting his leg about four hours later.

More than 10,000 people climb the 11,250-foot mountain’s summit each year, which is east of Portland, according to the sheriff's office.

Mount Hood
Credit: Getty Images

"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," the teen’s father, told CNN affiliate KATU, adding: "He's talking to family and friends. He's in good spirits."

Despite the injury, the teen’s father said they plan on going back up once he’s fully recovered to tackle the mountain together.

Lt. Brian Jensen of the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office told the station that “It's a technical mountain — it's not a Sunday stroll, it's inherently dangerous."

When attempting a tricky climb on Mount Hood, the USDA Forest Service recommends carrying a map of the area as well as a compass, flashlight with extra batteries and extra essentials like food and clothing. The agency also suggests hikers bring along a first aid kit as well as a pocket knife and a candle with matches in a waterproof container.

Proper gear is critical and the agency points to waterproof boots as well as durable rain gear and hats and gloves made of material like wool or polypropylene that can get wet while still retaining warmth. For backcountry and wilderness trips, the Forest Service recommends all hikers sign in at the trail register beforehand.

To prevent hypothermia, the agency says staying dry and preventing exposure to wind are important steps. Additionally, eating and drinking throughout the day and preventing exhaustion can help.

Lastly, watching for symptoms can be imperative, which include uncontrollable shivering, slurred speech, memory lapses or incoherence, as well as irrational behavior, fumbling hands, frequent stumbling, drowsiness or exhaustion, hallucinations, blueness of skin, dilation of pupils, weak or irregular pulse, or unconsciousness.