American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Reported Mountaineering Accidents, Table III

  • Accident Tables
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1995

TABLE III



1951–93

USA

1959–93

CAN.

1994

USA

1994

CAN.















Terrain











Rock

3141

367

112

17



Snow

1910

286

41

7



Ice

167

77

5

1



River

12

3

0

0



Unknown

22

6

0

0



Ascent or Descent











Ascent

2849

395

108

15



Descent

1740

265

49

9



Unknown

245

2

1

1



Immediate Cause











Fall or slip on rock

2060

195

87

10



Slip on snow or ice

703

144

22

4



Falling rock, ice or object

435

103

16

1



Exceeding abilities

351

27

16

0



Avalanche

245

101

2

2



Exposure

219

12

6

0



Illness1

224

20

22

0



Stranded

208

43

13

3



Rappel Failure/Error

161

26

12

3



Loss of control/glissade

157

14

2

1



Fall into crevasse/moat

121

37

2

0



Failure to follow route

103

18

6

0



Piton pulled out

71

12

0

0



Nut/chock pulled out

73

3

9

0



Faulty use of crampons

52

5

3

0



Lightning

39

6

0

0



Skiing

41

9

0

0



Ascending too fast

40

0

3

0



Equipment failure

5

2

0

0



Other2

129

14

22

1



Unknown

58

8

0

0



Contributory Causes











Climbing unroped

836

138

22

1



Exceeding abilities

797

152

16

1



Inadequate equipment

504

65

9

1



Placed no/inadequate protection

351

47

36

4



Weather

341

39

13

3



Climbing alone

291

52

7

0



No hard hat

189

19

16

2



Nut/chock pulled out

152

12

2

4



Darkness

103

14

2

0



Party separated

90

16

2

0



Piton pulled out

82

10

0

0





1951–93

USA

1959–93

CAN.

1994

USA

1994

CAN.















Poor position

89

12

7

0



Inadequate belay

74

11

18

1



Failure to test holds

62

15

1

0



Exposure

53

9

0

1



Failed to follow directions

51

5

2

0



Illness1

27

4

2

0



Equipment failure

8

4

0

0



Other2

197

78

10

1



Age of Individuals



Under 15

107

11

3

0



15–20

1093

193

19

0



21–25

1321

221

26

0



26–30

915

183

40

2



31–35

535

90

27

2



36–50

716

95

30

9



Over 50

101

14

15

2



Unknown

775

386

36

43



Experience Level



None/Little

1396

261

33

8



Moderate (1 to 3 years)

1247

320

33

14



Experienced

1164

333

52

17



Unknown

1216

222

78

19



Month of Year



January

161

10

9

0



February

165

36

3

0



March

222

41

6

0



April

299

27

8

0



May

631

41

27

1



June

758

45

28

5



July

843

196

23

10



August

745

110

29

7



September

1004

44

11

2



October

298

29

8

0



November

144

5

2

0



December

54

16

4

0



Unknown

4

0

0

0



Type of Injury/Illness (Data since 1984)









Fracture

594

98

70

13



Laceration

256

31

40

12



Abrasion

154

29

18

6



Bruise

156

34

21

15



Sprain/strain

142

13

18

0



Concussion

78

11

8

0



Frostbite

66

4

4

0



Hypothermia

60

7

13

3





1951–93

USA

1959–93

CAN.

1994

USA

1994

CAN.















Type of Injury/Illness (cont.)











Dislocation

49

6

8

0



Puncture

21

3

4

0



Sub-Acute Mountain Sickness

11

0

2

0



HAPE

44

0

2

0



CE

7

0

4

0



Other1

139

23

15

3



None

53

3

5

0



lThese include: a) fatigue (9); b) HACE (3); c) HAPE (2); d) AMS (2); e) hypothermia (7); f) possible umbilical hernia; g) frostbite (2); h) possible duodenal or gastric ulcer; (2); i) dehydration (7); j) grand mal seizure; k) ruptured spleen; 1) pneumothorax (5); m) viral and bacterial infection leading to diarrhea and vomiting; n) epidural bleeding; o) lung puncture; p) preexisting condition—unhealed thigh muscle strain led to fracture.

2These include: a) decision to go on instead of turning back (11); b) unable to self-arrest (14); c) haste; d) crampon point caught in ice while falling; e) climber not clipped in to anchor got knocked off by partner falling; f) underestimated avalanche potential; g) inadequate fluid intake—led to dehydration (7); h) poorly ventilated tent; i) rappel ropes knot “untied” (2); j) hair caught in rappel device; k) ran out of food and ropes frozen; 1) drugs (2); m) sling anchor burned through and broke; n) belay rope too short— end came through belay plate; o) using Figure Eight as belay device—rope ran through; p) no spotter—bouldering (2); q) put rappel rope through figure 8 wrong—did not hold; r) incoming tide caught climber; s)unclipped from safety line on rappel; t) descending snow in heat of day; u) ledge collapse.

(Editor’s Note: Under the “other” category, many of the particular items will have been recorded under a general category. For example, the climber who fell into his unanchored partner knocking him off would be coded as Fall on Rock, Falling Rock/Object, and Placed Inadequate Protection. 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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