American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Reported Mountaineering Accidents, Table III

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1992

TABLE III



1951-90

1959-90

1991

1991





USA

CAN.

USA

CAN.



Terrain











Rock

2820

343

105

11



Snow

1782

270

53

7



Ice

136

60

15

2



River

12

3

0

0



Unknown

21

6

1

0



Ascent or Descent











Ascent

2513

354

121

11



Descent

1605

243

47

9



Unknown

240

1

1

0



Immediate Cause











Fall or slip on rock

1837

175

59

8



Slip on snow or ice

638

129

30

5



Falling rock or object

398

101

12

0



Exceeding abilities

312

27

12

0



Avalanche

230

93

7

1



Exposure

196

12

15

0



Illness1

194

17

7

0



Stranded

176

38

12

1



Rappel Falure/Error

142

21

12

1



Loss of control/voluntary glissade

146

13

3

0



Fall into crevasse/moat

106

34

7

0



Failure to follow route

92

18

4

0



Piton pulled out

69

12

0

0



Faulty use of crampons

50

4

1

0



Nut/chock pulled out

48

3

8

0



Lightning

36

5

1

1



Skiing

35

9

2

0



Ascending too fast

32

0

1

0



Equipment failure

5

2

0

0



Other2

89

11

12

2



Unknown

48

8

0

0



Contributory Causes











Climbing unroped

788

118

19

7



Exceeding abilities

750

134

21

8



Inadequate equipment

461

55

16

5



Weather

294

33

14

2



Placed no/inadequate protection

313

34

30

5



Climbing alone

266

47

12

1



No hard hat

155

18

11

0



Nut/chock pulled out

133

10

8

2



Darkness

99

12

1

0



Piton pulled out

79

10

0

0



Party separated

82

15

3

0



Contributory Causes (cont.)



Poor position

62

8

11

1



Failure to test holds

51

13

7

1



Exposure

50

9

2

0



Inadequate belay

46

5

10

0



Failed to follow directions

45

3

4

2



Illness1

27

4

0

0



Equipment failure

6

2

2

1



Other2

152

41

32

8



Age of Individuals



Under 15

99

11

0

0



15-20

1049

181

16

11



21-25

1222

206

36

10



26-30

795

161

47

11



31-35

441

76

41

6



36-50

567

85

47

7



Over 50

84

12

7

0



Unknown

697

300

22

21



Experience Level



None/Little

1333

240

14

12



Moderate (1 to 3 years)

1187

260

31

24



Experienced

1027

279

44

16



Unknown

1083

196

42

14



Month of Year



January

143

7

8

2



February

153

31

2

0



March

208

34

6

1



April

267

24

14

1



May

542

37

30

0



June

673

39

28

2



July

781

189

21

3



August

679

193

25

6



September

960

37

19

2



October

262

27

9

2



November

133

3

5

1



December

51

16

2

0



Type of Injury/Illness (Data since 1984)



Fracture

458

58

88

11



Laceration

215

19

19

7



Abrasion

116

12

29

7



Bruise

105

16

42

6



Sprain/strain

106

10

24

2



Concussion

55

6

13

1



Frostbite

45

3

12

1



Hypothermia

36

5

13

2



Dislocation

26

3

8

2



Puncture

15

2

4

0



HAPE

31

0

3

0



Type of Iniury/Illness (cont.)



Acute Mountain Sickness

9

0

2

0



CE

4

0

1

0



Other1

90

19

28

1



None

22

3

12

0



'These include: a) acute mountain sickness (3); b) colitis; c) fatigue; d) pneumothorax (3); e) lightning burns; f) ligament tears; g) psychological; h) dehydration (3); i) heat exhaustion.

2These include: a) failure to recognize symptoms of AMS/HAPE (2); b) failure to communicate previous illness and medications to guide; c) failure to file route plan with friends; d) no spotter; e) unable to self-arrest; f) late start—includes avalanche and lightning incidents in afternoon; g) alcohol; h) foot/boot stuck in crack after fall; i) unwilling to change plans; j) did not know how to tie a prusik knot; k) inadequate supervision (3); 1) miscommunication on belay; m) didn’t use ice ax on icy approach to climb; n) inattention (2); o) short climber—couldn’t reach hold.

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