American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Statistical Tables, Reported Mountaineering Accidents, Table III

  • Accident Tables
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1987



1951-85

USA



1959-85

CAN.



1986

USA



1986

CAN.





Terrain

Rock 

2228

281

150

15



Snow 

1369

232

38

11



Ice 

103

43

5

5



River 

12

3

0

0



Unknown 

16

6

2

0



Ascent or Descent

Ascent 

1925

286

154

21



Descent 

1379

199

47

10



Unknown 

227

41

1

0



Immediate Cause

Fall or slip on rock 

1399

138

117

9



Slip on snow or ice 

541

106

20

6



Falling rock or object 

292

85

21

6



Exceeding abilities 

240

26

21

0



Avalanche 

213

86

1

3



Exposure 

172

12

10

0



Stranded 

148

35

3

1



Illness1 

138

12

11

0



Failure of Rappel 

132

16

2

2



Loss of control/voluntary glissade 

125

11

2

0



Fall into crevasse/moat 

89

26

4

3



Piton pulled out 

67

12

1

0



Failure to follow route 

66

15

8

2



Faulty use of crampons 

38

3

2

0



Lightning 

34

3

0

0



Skiing 

29

6

1

1



Nut/chock pulled out 

23

3

4

0



Ascending too fast 

6

0

2

0



Equipment failure 

4

2

0

0



Other2 

44

8

13

1



Unknown 

43

7

2

0



Contributory Causes

Climbing unroped 

692

93

28

3



Exceeding abilities 

680

115

12

3



Inadequate equipment 

399

46

17

0



Weather 

237

22

15

0



Climbing alone 

219

32

6

3



Placed no/inadequate protection 

147

17

39

4



Darkness 

81

11

3

0



Nut/chock pulled out 

80

3

14

0



No hard hat 

79

9

15

1



Piton pulled out 

74

8

1

2



Party separated 

63

12

3

1



Exposure 

41

9

2

0



Failure to test holds 

35

6

6

4



Inadequate belay 

16

2

8

3



Poor position 

13

1

5

4



Failed to follow directions 

13

1

6

0



Illness1 

7

1

10

1



Equipment failure 

3

2

1

0



Other2 

88

22

11

4





1951-85

1959-85

1986

1986





USA

CAN.

USA

CAN.



Age of Individuals











Under 15 

93

11

2

0



15-20 

976

172

15

1



21-25 

1010

185

72

7



26-30 

586

131

54

7



31-35 

290

61

25

1



36-50 

392

71

34

7



Over 50 

52

8

3

1



Unknown 

565

263

9

16



Experience Level











None/Little 

1214

202

17

20



Moderate (1 to 3 years) 

1038

221

32

13



Experienced 

748

227

59

7



Unknown 

779

192

62

0



Month of Year











January 

125

6

3

0



February 

132

29

6

0



March 

175

30

2

2



April 

198

16

15

2



May 

406

31

49

1



June 

529

31

22

2



July 

648

157

29

5



August 

580

157

24

15



September 

886

29

27

0



October 

207

23

12

2



November 

108

3

6

0



December 

30

8

0

2



Type of Injury/Illness











Fracture 

123

8

67

10



Bruise 

34

3

12

2



Abrasion 

37

2

20

2



Laceration 

48

3

29

2



Sprain/strain 

28

5

11

1



Concussion 

14

3

6

1



Dislocation 

*

*

10

0



Puncture 

7

1

3

1



Frostbite 

12

0

6

0



HAPE3 

7

0

6

0



Acute Mountain Sickness 

2

0

2

0



CE 

0

0

1

0



Hypothermia 

10

2

8

3



Other4 

36

3

21

4



None 

7

0

7

0



'These include: a) CO poisoning (2); b) pneumonia (1); c) HAPE and CE (7); d) fatigue/ exhaustion (10); e) impaired hearing (1).

These include: a) failure to turn back; b) improper technique; c) lost ice ax while trying to self arrest; d) climber dislodged rock; e) harness came off; f) wasp attack; g) helmet broke; h) marijuana; i) dislocated knee while climbing; j) dislocated ankle while rappelling; k) improper instruction.

One case was under 3400 meters, one was on the Grand Teton, and one was on Mount Rainier.

These include eye injuries and fatigue/exhaustion.

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