Climbing community rallies around OSU grad student recovering after fall at Mt. Rainier

Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 9:12 PM PDT
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MT. RAINIER, Wash. (KPTV) – Samantha Kang, who is a graduate student at Oregon State University and a staple in the climbing community in Corvallis, is now recovering after they took a 20-foot fall at Mt. Rainier on June 25. Kang was climbing Unicorn Peak when a rock they were holding broke. Kang was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. They are suffering from a broken neck, back and arm.

“She’s going through a huge amount of emotional pain right now and just physical as well and so in whatever way we can support her I’m hoping that will sort of show her how much we honor her,” Johanna Garcia, Samantha’s friend, said. It will be a long road to recovery for Kang and the climbing community is now rallying behind them as they heal. A GoFundMe has been set up to help pay for medical costs. Valley Rock Gym in Corvallis is also holding a ‘Climb for Sam’ day on Friday, July 1 from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. All proceeds from day passes and gear will go to help Samantha recover.

“She gives so much of her own energy and time and I think so much of the work that she does in the community goes unnoticed,” Garcia said.

Kang is the founder of Corvallis Climbers of Color and many like Daniela Rodriguez-Marty said Kang was vital to creating a space there for the BIPOC community.

“There would not be a climbing community for climbers of color, Latinx, Black, Indigenous, Asian climbers in Corvallis if it had not been for Sam,” Rodriguez-Marty said.

Kang’s sister, Andrea, said that Samantha is awake and responsive and wanted to share this message with the climbing community: “To my community, supporters and Corvallis Climbers of Color (CCOC) - this is one of the hardest chapters in my life but knowing that this climbing community exists is a very powerful feeling, it’s a very hopeful feeling. It’s a testament that these communities function as more than just a gathering space. I may have founded CCOC but community is far more powerful than one person, it’s a network powered by hope, love and support. Seeing how we can harness that, it’s been pretty cool, that’s how you start movements. You have a bunch of people who have not felt that sense of belonging before, so it’s transformative to see what happens when they unite and find community. I didn’t start CCOC to make a movement, I just wanted people to feel like they belonged. CCOC is an extension of me and the love I have for other people and I feel so humbled to be feeling that love back.”