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Reported Mountaineering Accidents, Table III

TABLE III



1951-82 1959-82 USA CAN.

1983 1983 USA CAN.



Terrain



Rock

1835

107



Snow

1221

75



Ice

79

10





10

1



Unknown

10

2



Ascent or Descent:



Ascent

1523

119



Descent

1177

73



Unknown

211

5



Immediate Cause



Fall or slip on rock

1108

78



Slip on snow or ice

457

44



Falling rock or object

244

15



Exceed abilities

219

8



Avalanche

198

6



Exposure and/or exhaustion

156

2



Stranded

138

2



Failure of rappel1 

121

6



Illness including edema/frostbite2

118

10



Loss of control—voluntary glissade

103

8



Fall into crevasse/moat

77

8



Failure of piton

66

0



Failure to follow route

48

4





33

0



Faulty use of crampons

32

3



Failure of nut

17

1



Skiing

17

9



Heat prostration

4

3



Prusik/ascending device failure

4

0





26

5



Unknown

34

4



Contributory Causes



Climbing unroped

633

32



Exceeding abilities

602

50



Inadequate equipment

329

30



Climbing alone

193

16



Weather

193

14



Darkness

74

4



Failure of piton

68

4



Party separated

58

3



No hard hat

60

16



Placed no/inadequate protection

67

31



Failure of nut

40

16



Exposure and/or exhaustion

34

4



Failure to test holds

19

2



Old rope

8

0



Waist/harness failure

2

0



Other4

52

11



Age of Individuals



Under 15

89

3



15-20

905

31



21-25

840

41



26-30

441

46



31-35

225

21



36-50

292

30



Over 50

31

10



Unknown

519

26



Affiliation with Climbing Groups





Unaffiliated

1003

62



Affiliated

900

46



Unknown

1062

79



Estimate of Experience



None or little

1121

49



Moderate

820

44



Experienced

577

56



Unknown

593

57



Month of Year







January

110

9



February 

111

9



March

161

8



April

163

10



May

305

23



June

456

27



July

553

38



August

496

26



September

293

17



October

165

14



November

97

2



December

25

4











These include: a) a snow fluke coming out, b) using only one anchor point around loose blocks, c) no belay, d) no prusik sling backup.

Five of these were HAPE, three were frostbite, and one was a heart attack.

These include: a) a fall through the ice into a river, b) a fall through a moat into a river, c) a belay ledge collapse, d) improperly placed Friend, and e) a metal splinter in the eye while driving an old piton.

These include: a) slack rope while crossing a bergschrund, b) failure to check feet and rewarm, c) drinking, d) communication problems, e) jumars coming off the rope, f) climbers triggering an avalanche, g) belay failure because of sweaty hands, and h) belayer asleep.

Editors Note: The numbers found under the categories “Ascent or Descent,” “Affiliation with Climbing Groups,” and “Month of the Year” reflect the actual number of accidents reported.