American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Reported Mountaineering Accidents, Table III

  • Accident Tables
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1993

TABLE III



1951-91

1959-91

1992

1992





USA

CAN.

USA

CAN.



Terrain











Rock

2925

354

120

7



Snow

1835

277

44

3



Ice

151

62

11

7



River

12

3

0

0



Unknown

22

6

0

0



Ascent or Descent











Ascent

2634

365

125

12



Descent

1652

252

49

5



Unknown

241

1

1

0



Immediate Cause











Fall or slip on rock

1896

183

92

3



Slip on snow or ice

668

134

24

4



Falling rock or object

410

101

13

1



Exceeding abilities

324

27

16

0



Avalanche

237

94

6

1



Exposure

211

12

3

0



Illness1

201

17

12

0



Stranded

188

39

13

2



Rappel Falure/Error

154

22

5

2



Loss of control/voluntary glissade

149

13

5

1



Fall into crevasse/moat

113

34

5

2



Failure to follow route

96

18

5

0



Piton pulled out

69

12

1

0



Nut/chock pulled out

56

3

9

0



Faulty use of crampons

51

4

0

1



Lightning

37

6

2

0



Skiing

37

9

3

0



Ascending too fast

33

0

0

0



Equipment failure

5

2

0

0



Other2

101

13

15

1



Unknown

48

8

1

0



Contributory Causes











Climbing unroped

807

125

15

5



Exceeding abilities

771

142

14

2



Inadequate equipment

477

60

13

3



Weather

308

35

18

3



Placed no/inadequate protection

343

39

34

2



Climbing alone

278

48

6

2



No hard hat

166

18

12

1



Nut/chock pulled out

141

12

7

0



Darkness

100

12

2

1



Piton pulled out

79

10

2

0



Party separated

85

15

4

0





1951-91

1959-91

1992

1992





USA

CAN.

USA

CAN.



Contributory Causes (cont.)











Poor position

73

9

11

1



Failure to test holds

58

14

3

0



Exposure

52

9

0

0



Inadequate belay

56

5

11

4



Failed to follow directions

49

3

0

2



Illness1

27

4

0

0



Equipment failure

8

3

0

1



Other2

184

49

6

14



Age of Individuals











Under 15

99

11

7

0



15-20

1065

192

11

1



21-25

1258

216

37

1



26-30

842

172

39

4



31-35

482

82

32

3



36-50

614

92

59

1



Over 50

91

12

5

2



Unknown

719

321

32

33



Experience Level











None/Little

1347

252

25

4



Moderate (1 to 3 years)

1218

284

20

21



Experienced

1071

295

58

16



Unknown

1125

210

99

4



Month of Year











January

151

9

8

0



February

155

31

8

1



March

214

35

4

1



April

281

25

7

2



May

572

37

33

1



June

701

41

32

1



Jnly

802

192

30

4



August

704

199

26

3



September

979

39

12

3



October

271

29

12

0



November

138

4

2

1



December

53

16

1

0



Type of Injury/Illness (Data since 1984)









Fracture

546

69

82

9



Laceration

234

26

32

3



Abrasion

145

19

20

3



Bruise

147

22

21

5



Sprain/strain

130

12

14

0



Concussion

68

7

9

3



Frostbite

57

4

9

0



Hypothermia

49

7

9

0





1951-91

1959-91

1992

1992





USA

CAN.

USA

CAN.



Type of Injury/Illness (cont.)

Dislocation

34

5

9

0



Puncture

19

2

1

0



HAPE

34

0

6

0



Acute Mountain Sickness

11

0

0

0



CE

5

0

1

0



Other1

118

20

7

1



None

34

3

15

0



lrThese include: a) flail chest; b) pneumothorax (2); c) atrial fibrillation; d) severe dehydration; e) fatigue (3); f) infection; g) renal failure; h) snow blindness; i) pre-existing conditions (e.g., knee spontaneously dislocates); j) cardiac arrest; and k) ear detached.

2These include: a) belay rope end went through belay device while lowering; b) rappel brake system inadequate; c) failure to clip into both loops of an anchor sling; d) belay anchor system came away; e) 9mm poly pro fixed rope, used to rappel on, broke; f) rope frayed through—rubbed on edge while jumarring (also “inadequate protection”); g) pulled various size rocks off, causing falls and crushing injuries (3); h) knots “came undone’’(3); i) harness “came undone”; j) patella spontaneously dislocated causing a fall; k) rappel ropes froze; 1) ascenders “detached” from rope; m) miscommunication (4); n) not understanding ice conditions, i.e., history of snow/ice formations (2); o) late start (lightning in afternoon); p) euphoria—beautiful weather, ideal ski condition—but in avalance terrain.

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