American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Table I, Mountaineering Accidents and Mortality Rates, United States

  • Accident Tables
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1963


Mountaineering Accidents and Mortality Rates United States

Reported man-mountain days/year, 1953-1954 18,722

Accident Rates per 1000 reported man-mountain days


Mortality rate per 1000 reported man-mountain days 0.60

Table I summarizes the overall results obtained at that time. Many possible sources of error could have modified these results. There was no way of being sure of the precision of the estimated number of man- mountain days, and in all probability it was an underestimate since the data only referred to climbing organized under club auspices. The number of accidents was also probably under-reported. On the other hand the number of deaths probably was well documented, a fact of doubtful satisfaction.

In an effort to obtain data that should have better validity but might not be representative of climbing in general, a further survey was conducted. The National Parks in which climbing is done require registration and would, therefore, have good estimates of the man-mountain days. Also because of their rescue operations, they should have good data on accidents. These parks were surveyed and asked for their experience over the past five years. The results are summarized in Table II.

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