AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

Accidents in North American Mountaineering, Twenty-Seventh Annual Report of the Safety Committee of the American Alpine Climb

This is the twenty-seventh annual Report of the Safety Committee of the American Alpine Club and the fourteenth in conjunction with the Alpine Club of Canada. Its publication was delayed by human frailties; the Committee expects to do better next year.

Some considerations deriving from 1973’s accidents have been well described in a previous publication:

“The Committee thinks it desirable, before making specific recommendations, to point out certain conditions pertaining to mountaineering in our time which may have had unfortunate effects.…Some of these considerations are advanced for critical examination in the belief that if they have not already directly caused accidents they may all too easily do so in the future.

“These are the major factors of concern:

“The number of persons interested in mountaineering, but lacking in climbing experience, has grown vastly. This growth may be due in part to the phenomenal development, during the past decade, of the related sport of skiing. A proportionate increase in the number of accidents would be logical. Indications are, however, that the increase has been greater than might have been expected.

“Solo climbing appears to have spread alarmingly. Possibly some of the causes are attributable to World War II. It has been said that there was a similar wave of solo climbing after World War I . . . .

“So much spectacular publicity has been given to mountaineers and their climbs that many youngsters — and some older persons — see only the glamor, and fail to perceive that real success on a difficult climb connotes careful planning, hard work, proper technique and constant attention to the principles of safety.”

Those observations were published in the first annual report of this Committee, in May 1948.

SAFETY COMMITTEE, AMERICAN ALPINE CLUB, 1973

Benjamin G. Ferris, Jr., Chairman; Paul B. Crews, Hal Foss, David Harrah, Wayne

P. Merry, Edward O. Nester, Thomas O. Nevison, Ross Petrie, Peter L. Renz, Michael Sherrick, Harold F. Walton, Arnold Wexler, Bradley Snyder, Editor.

ALPINE CLUB OF CANADA

Helen Butling, Dick Culbert, D. G. Linke, R. D. Lyon

RESCUE OPERATIONS

George Sainsbury