American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Reported Mountaineering Accidents, Table III

  • Accident Tables
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1994

TABLE III



1951-92

1959-92

1993

1993





USA

CAN.

USA

CAN.



Terrain











Rock

3045

354

96

13



Snow

1879

280

31

6



Ice

162

69

5

8



River

12

3

0

0



Unknown

22

6

0

0



Ascent or Descent











Ascent

2759

377

90

18



Descent

1701

257

39

8



Unknown

242

1

3

1



Immediate Cause











Fall or slip on rock

1988

186

72

9



Slip on snow or ice

692

138

11

6



Falling rock, ice or object

423

102

12

1



Exceeding abilities

340

27

11

0



Avalanche

243

95

2

6



Exposure

214

12

5

0



Illness1

213

17

11

3



Stranded

201

41

7

2



Rappel Falure/Error

159

24

2

2



Loss of control/glissade

154

14

3

0



Fall into crevasse/moat

118

36

3

1



Failure to follow route

101

18

2

0



Piton pulled out

70

12

1

0



Nut/chock pulled out

65

3

8

0



Faulty use of crampons

51

5

1

0



Lightning

39

6

0

0



Skiing

40

9

1

0



Ascending too fast

33

0

7

0



Equipment failure

5

2

0

0



Other2

116

14

13

0



Unknown

49

8

9

0



Contributory Causes











Climbing unroped

822

130

14

8



Exceeding abilities

785

146

12

6



Inadequate equipment

490

63

14

2



Placed no/inadequate protection

327

41

24

6



Weather

326

38

15

1



Climbing alone

284

50

7

2



No hard hat

178

19

11

0



Nut/chock pulled out

148

12

4

0



Darkness

102

13

1

1



Party separated

89

15

1

1



Piton pulled out

81

10

1

0





1951-92

1959-92

1993

1993





USA

CAN.

USA

CAN.



Poor position

84

10

5

2



Inadequate belay

67

9

7

2



Failure to test holds

61

14

1

1



Exposure

52

9

1

0



Failed to follow directions

49

5

2

0



Illness1

27

4

0

0



Equipment failure

8

4

0

0



Other2

190

63

7

15



Age of Individuals



Under 15

106

11

1

0



15-20

1076

193

17

0



21-25

1295

217

26

4



26-30

881

176

34

7



31-35

514

85

21

5



36-50

673

93

43

2



Over 50

96

14

5

0



Unknown

751

354

24

32



Experience Level



None/Little

1372

256

24

5



Moderate (1 to 3 years)

1238

305

9

15



Experienced

1129

311

35

22



Unknown

1124

214

92

8



Month of Year



January

159

9

2

1



February

163

32

2

4



March

218

36

4

5



April

288

27

11

0



May

605

38

26

3



Tune

733

42

25

3



July

832

196

11

0



August

730

102

15

8



September

991

42

13

2



October

283

29

15

0



November

140

5

4

1



December

54

16

0

0



Unknown

0

0

4

0



Type of Injury/Illness (Data

Fracture

since 1984)

546

78

48

20



Laceration

234

29

22

2



Abrasion

145

22

9

7



Bruise

147

27

9

7



Sprain/strain

130

12

12

1



Concussion

68

10

10

1



Frostbite

57

4

9

0



Hypothermia

49

7

11

0





1951-92

1959-92

1993

1993





USA

CAN.

USA

CAN.



Type of Injury/Illness (cont.)

Dislocation

43

5

6

1



Puncture

20

2

1

1



Sub-Acute Mountain Sickness

11

0

0

0



HAPE

40

0

4

0



CE

6

0

1

0



Other1

125

21

14

2



None

49

3

4

0



1hese include: a) fatigue (7); b) HAPE (4); c) CE; d) hypoxia; e) hypothermia; f) pulmonary embolism; g) diarrhea; h) internal - unspecified (2); i) dehydration (5) - not enough fluid intake at altitude; j) lung collapse; k) shoulder (1) & knee (2) dislocation.

2These include: a) proximity to summit—decision to go on instead of turning back(2); b) continuing to ascend while ill; c) frostbite; d) using stove in tent—no ventilation; e) agitated because piton indicated in guide book was not in place; f) rappel rope stuck; g) hold broke off; h) ice collapse (3); i) misjudged difficulty of route and ran out of water; j) arms gave out; k) rock anchor horn and chockstone used on sling shot belay failed; 1) climbing in the dark; m) “showing off;” n) inadequate rope length—lowering; o) ice tools pulled out.

(Editor’s Note: There were four accidents in Illinois about which we had little or no details, and they account for the “unknown ” category under Month of Year and Type of Injury.

Under the “other” category, many of the particular items will have been recorded under a general category. For example, the rock anchor horn on the sling shot belay that came off is recorded under “placed no/ inadequate equipment. ” The point in this category is to provide the reader with some added detail. It should be apparent that many of these details can be translated into a few basic categories.)

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