American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Reported Mountaineering Accidents, Table III

  • Accident Tables
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1979

TABLE III

Numbers Refer to Persons Directly Involved



1951-77

1959-77

1978

1978





USA

CAN.

USA

CAN.



Terrain1



Rock

1498

153

54

12



Snow

841

145

52

6



Ice

34

4

12

2



River

7

2

0

0



Unknown

10

2

0

0



Ascent or Descent



Ascent

1162

157

62

9



Descent

991

99

41

8



Unknown

161

12

15

0



Immediate Cause



Fall or slip on rock

877

72

34

2



Slip on snow or ice

328

50

40

4



Falling rock or object

202

56

0

2



Avalanche

166

63

6

1



Exceed abilities

166

9

2

3



Exposure and/or exhaustion

115

6

6

0



Stranded

104

12

8

2



Failure of rappel

97

3

4

2



Loss of control—voluntary glissade .

80

6

2

1



Failure of piton

58

9

4

0



Illness—including pulmonary

edema/frostbite

67

4

3

0















Fall into crevasse

56

15

4

1



Lightning

34

3

0

0



Faulty use of crampons

21

2

0

0



Failure to follow route

23

4

7

0



Skiing

13

4

4

0



Prussik/ascending device failure

3

1

0

0



Heat Prostration

3

0

0

1



Failure of nut

8

1

2

0



Other2

14

5

3

0



Unknown

21

3

7

0



Contributory Causes



Climbing unroped

514

52

27

4



Exceeding abilities

522

67

18

3



Inadequate equipment

243

26

18

0



Climbing alone

165

16

5

0



Bad weather

134

7

8

0



Failure of piton

59

5

1

1



Darkness

64

5

1

0





1951-77

1959-77

1978

1978





USA

CAN.

USA

CAN.



Party separated

52

6

2

0



Exposure and/or exhaustion

24

1

1

1



Old rope

8

1

0

0



No hard hat

17

2

6

0



Failure to test holds

9

1

0

0



Placed no protection

18

0

9

0



Failure of nut

15

1

3

0



Waist/harness failure

1

1

0

0



Other2

8

0

7

0



Age of Individuals



Under 15

85

5

1

5



15-20

794

108

33

7



21-25

621

66

54

3



26-30

306

57

17

1



31-35

162

19

11

0



36-50

219

40

11

2



Over 50

5

0

5

2



Unknown

271

62

8

3



Affiliation with Climbing Groups



Unaffiliated

781

52

49

1



Affiliated

793

144

24

6



Unknown

788

49

45

13



Estimate of Experience



None or little

1014

89

30

5



Moderate

610

73

24

5



Experienced

427

88

33

3



Unknown

355

50

35

5



Month of Year



January

86

3

4

0



February

95

15

6

2



March

129

20

7

1



April

132

5

3

1



May

219

17

16

0



June

380

35

8

5



July

444

97

21

4



August

408

83

20

6



September

232

10

15

0



October

121

12

9

1



November

77

1

8

0



December

17

3

1

0



1 All accidents this year involved only one primary terrain type.

2 These include a) jamming an arm in a crack, b) a climber who disappeared, c) ski descent of a climbing route, d) wasp stings, and e) climbers not being familiar with the retreat route (four cases).

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