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

Reported Mountaineering Accidents, Table III

Numbers Refer to Persons Directly Involved



1951-75

1959-75

1976

1976





USA

CAN.

USA

CAN.



Terrain1



Rock

1344

115

84

10



Snow

715

108

85

2



Ice 

1

1

24

2



River 

5

0

1

1



Unknown 

10

2

0

0



Ascent or Descent



Ascent

1051

123

56

7



Descent

875

87

71

4



Unknown 

135

8

10

0



Immediate Cause



Fall or slip on rock

773

57

62

6



Slip on snow or ice

258

30

43

2



Falling rock or object 

175

40

8

2



Avalanche2 

139

41

23

1



Exceed abilities

131

6

26

2



Exposure and/or exhaustion 

100

2

5

0



Stranded

97

12

3

0



Failure of rappel

88

3

6

0



Loss of control—voluntary glissade

72

6

3

0



Failure of piton

58

4

0

3



Illness—including pulmonary



edema/frostbite 3

45

3

17

0



Fall into crevasse

36

11

17

1



Lightning 

31

3

1

0



Faulty use of crampons 

13

2

8

0



Failure to follow route

14

0

5

1



Skiing 

8

4

4

0



Prussik/ascending device failure

3

0

0

0



Heat Prostration 

3

0

0

0



Failure of nut

1

0

3

0



Other4 

1

0

6

1



Unknown 

19

2

1

1



Contributory Causes



Climbing unroped

490

47

9

2



Exceeding abilities

475

62

35

2



Inadequate equipment

210

17

16

3



Climbing alone

146

15

11

1



Bad weather

106

7

15

0



Failure of piton

59

5

0

0



Darkness

59

3

2

2



Party separated

40

6

11

0



Exposure and /or exhaustion 

17

1

3

0





1951-75

1959-75

1976

1976





USA

CAN.

USA

CAN.



Old rope

8

1

0

0



No hard hat

10

1

6

1



Failure to test holds 

3

0

3

0



Placed no protection

4

0

7

0



Failure of nut

6

0

3

0



Waist /harness failure 

1

1

0

1



Other4 

—

—

5

0



Age of Individuals



Under 15 

79

5

4

0



15-20 

722

98

41

3



21-25 

524

45

59

3



26-30 

248

48

34

0



31-35 

126

17

16

0



36-50

194

27

18

1



Over 50 





4

0



Unknown 

224

34

38

3



Affiliation with Climbing Groups



Unaffiliated

685

41

66

1



Affiliated 

706

125

65

3



Unknown

676

20

61

6



Estimate of Experience



None or little

934

75

54

4



Moderate 

540

59

48

1



Experienced

348

72

46

3



Unknown 

269

19

51

2



Month of Year



January

81

3

2

0



February 

76

14

15

0



March 

109

3

16

1



April

109

3

19

1



May

175

11

24

2



June 

335

32

25

1



July

371

77

51

5



August

364

63

21

4



September

210

8

9

0



October 

110

6

5

2



November

68

1

6

0



December

8

2

9

0



Many accidents involve a combination of terrains.

This includes two avalanches which buried three ski tourers.

3This includes two cases of diabetics unable to make insulin adjustments at high altitudes. 4These include: a) practice belaying, b) using a poncho to slide down a steep snow slope, c) falling into a river, d) being pinned by a loose boulder, e) rappelling from a building, and f) a rope breaking.