American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Reported Mountaineering Accidents, Table III

  • Accident Tables
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1976

TABLE III

Numbers Refer to Persons Directly Involved





1951-74 USA

1959-74 CAN.

1975 USA

1975 CAN.















Terrain











Rock

1285

105

59





Snow

668

101

47





Ice1





1





River

5

0

0





Unknown

10

2

0





Ascent or Descent











Ascent

977

120

74





Descent

847

79

28





Unknown

130

8

5





Immediate Cause











Fall or slip on rock

731

55

42





Slip on snow or ice

250

28

8





Falling rock or object

174

27

10





Avalanche

129

41

10





Exceed abilities

129

5

6





Exposure and/or exhaustion

98

2

2





Stranded

96

11

1





Failure of rappel

86

3

2





Loss of control—voluntary glissade

72

6

0





Failure of piton or nut

57

4

l2





Illness—including pulmonary edema/frostbite

44

3

1

















Fall into crevasse

35

11

1





Lightning

31

3

0





Faulty use of crampons

12

2

1





Failure to follow route

9

0

5





Skiing

6

4

2





Prussik/ascending device failure3

3

0

0





Heat Prostration

3

0

0





Failure of nut4





1





Other5





1





Unknown

19

2

0





Contributory Causes











Climbing unroped

480

44

10





Exceeding abilities

467

62

8





Inadequate equipment

205

17

5





Climbing alone

141

15

5





Bad weather

96

7

10





Failure of piton or nut

56

5

3





Darkness

55

3

4





Party separated

38

6

2





Exposure and/or exhaustion

16

1

1







1951-74

1959-74

1975 1975





USA

CAN.

USA CAN.



Old rope 

8

1

0



No hard hat 

6

1

4



Failure to test holds 

3



0



Placed no protection 

1

0

3



Failure of nut6 





6



Waist/harness failure6 



1

1



Age of Individuals



Under 15 

71

4

2



15-20 

693

44

29



21-25 

470

42

54



26-30 

240

47

8



31-35 

125

16

1



36-50 

191

27

3



Over 50 









Unknown 

205

27

19



Affiliation with Climbing Groups



Unaffiliated 

665

40

20



Affiliated 

663

112

43



Unknown 

626

19

50



Estimate of Experience



None or little 

886

74

48



Moderate 

518

49

22



Experienced 

339

67

9



Unknown 

229

19

40



Month of Year



January 

79

3

2



February 

75

14

1



March 

103

3

6



April 

104

3

5



May 

169

11

6



June 

325

32

10



July 

361

68

10



August 

345

58

19



September 

203

8

7



October 

104

3

6



November 

66

1

2



December 

8

2

0



'New category—reflects increase of ice climbing



2Use of old piton



3Now includes Jumar, Gibbs, etc., failures



4New category—reflects use of nuts exclusively



5Fall resulting from stepping on a branch on a rock route



6New category—reflects use of new techniques



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