American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Reported Mountaineering Accidents, Table III

  • Accident Tables
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1986



1951-84

USA

1959-84

CAN.

1985

USA

1985

CAN.



Terrain





Rock

2078

264

150

17



Snow

1333

226

36

6



Ice

96

39

7

4



River

12

3

0

0



Unknown

14

6

2

0



Ascent or Descent





Ascent

1768

269

157

14



Descent

1348

186

31

13



Unknown

220

41

7

0



Immediate Cause





Fall or slip on rock

1285

129

114

9



Slip on snow or ice

521

101

20

5



Falling rock or object

279

81

13

4



Exceeding abilities

231

25

9

1



Avalanche

209

85

5

1



Exposure

164

10

8

2



Stranded

141

35

7

0



Failure of rappel

130

15

2

1



Illness

128

12

10

0



Loss of control/voluntary glissade

118

10

7

1



Fall into crevasse/moat

88

26

1

0



Piton pulled out

67

12

0

0



Failure to follow route

59

14

7

1



Faulty use of crampons

37

3

1

0



Lightning

34

3

0

0



Skiing

27

6

2

0



Nut/chock pulled out

19

2

4

1



Equipment failure

4

1

0

1



Ascending too fast

2

0

4

0



Other1

37

8

7

0



Unknown

41

7

2

0



Contributory Causes





Climbing unroped

682

89

10

4



Exceeding abilities

668

108

12

7



Inadequate equipment

378

43

21

3



Climbing alone

215

30

4

2



Weather

217

21

20

1



Placed no/inadequate protection

127

16

20

1



Darkness

79

9

3

2



No hard hat

78

9

1

0



Piton pulled out

73

8

1

0



Party separated

63

11

0

1



Nut/chock pulled out

61

3

19

0



Exposure

39

9

2

0



Failure to test holds

31

6

4

0



Equipment failure

3

1

0

1



Inadequate belay

6

0

10

2



Illness

6

0

1

0





1951-84

1959-84

1985

1985





USA

CAN.

USA

CAN.



Failed to follow directions

4

0

9

1



Poor position

6

0

7

1



Other2

75

21

13

1



Age of Individuals



Under 15

91

11

2

0



15-20

961

169

15

3



21-25

938

182

72

3



26-30

532

126

54

5



31-35

265

58

25

3



36-50

358

68

34

3



Over 50

49

8

3

0



Unknown

556

220

9

43



Experience Level



None/Little

1197

184

17

18



Moderate (1 to 3 years)

1066

203

32

18



Experienced

689

212

59

15



Unknown

717

183

62

9



Month of Year



January

122

6

3

0



February

126

29

6

0



March

173

28

2

2



April

183

15

15

1



May

357

29

49

2



June

507

29

22

2



July

619

147

29

10



August

556

150

24

7



September

859

26

27

3



October

195

23

12

0



November

102

3

6

0



December

30

7

0

1



Type of Injury/Illness



Fracture

56

*

67

8



Bruise

22

*

12

3



Abrasion

17

*

20

2



Laceration

19

*

29

3



Sprain/Strain

17

*

11

5



Concussion

8

*

6

3



Puncture

4

*

3

1



Frostbite

6

*

6

0



HAPE

2

*

5

0



Acute Mountain Sickness

0

*

2

0



CE

0

*

0

0



Hypothermia

2

*

8

2



Other

15

*

21

3



None

0

*

7

0



'These include: a) miscommunication (4), b) improper spotting technique, and c) snake bite.

2These include: a) failure to check knot on tie-in, b) too slow descending, c) miscommunication.

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