AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

Reported Mountaineering Accidents, Table III



1951–98

1959–98

1999

1999





USA

CAN.

USA

CAN.



Terrain



Rock

3674

445

84

10



Snow

2109

313

29

11



Ice

198

104

9

8



River

13

3

0

0



Unknown

22

8

0

0



Ascent or Descent



Ascent

3258

469

87

14



Descent

1987

323

35

14



Unknown

247

4

0

1



Immediate Cause



Fall or slip on rock

2548

239

62

7



Slip on snow or ice

828

166

16

5



Falling rock, ice, or object

506

114

17

4



Exceeding abilities

440

27

13

1



Avalanche

260

109

2

2



Exposure

241

13

0

0



Illness1

287

21

13

1



Stranded

275

11

5

0



Rappel Failure/Error

221

40

6

0



Loss of control/glissade

169

16

2

0



Fall into crevasse/moat

136

41

5

3



Failure to follow route

131

27

3

1



Nut/chock pulled out

110

3

14

1



Piton/ice screw pulled out

86

12

1

0



Faulty use of crampons

70

5

4

0



Lightning

39

7

1

0



Skiing

48

9

2

0



Ascending too fast

45

0

1

0



Equipment failure

11

2

0

0



Other2

229

28

40

4



Unknown

60

8

0

0



Contributory Causes



Climbing unroped

912

151

7

2



Exceeding abilities

838

184

9

10



Inadequate equipment/clothing

559

72

8

3



Placed no/inadequate protection

530

79

22

0



Weather

388

57

12

1



Climbing alone

329

57

9

3



No hard hat

260

25

9

3



Nut/chock pulled out

185

16

4

1



Darkness

122

19

1

0



Party separated

103

17

2

0



Poor position

121

15

5

0



Inadequate belay

135

22

9

0



Piton/ice screw pulled out

84

10

0

0





1951-98

1959-98

1999

1999





USA

CAN.

USA

CAN.



Contributory Causes (cont.)



Failure to test holds

75

18

5

1



Exposure

55

13

1

0



Failed to follow directions

62

8

6

3



Illness1

32

4

1

0



Equipment failure

10

6

0

1



Other2

238

79

1

6



Afire of Individuals



Under 15

117

12

0

0



15-20

1166

197

9

2



21-25

1180

225

19

11



26-30

1075

189

20

4



31-35

718

96

21

6



36-50

904

108

33

16



Over 50

148

20

6

2



Unknown

954

596

45

26



Experience Level



None/Little

1543

280

11

11



Moderate (1 to 3 years)

1369

340

17

6



Experienced

1449

359

61

12



Unknown

1574

403

55

40



Month of Year



January

193

15

0

1



February

182

40

2

1



March

252

52

4

3



April

344

29

5

0



May

739

49

23

1



June

881

59

31

0



July

952

225

10

5



August

887

143

18

12



September

1077

54

8

4



October

353

30

11

0



November

160

10

6

0



December

71

17

4

2



Unknown

12

1

0

0



Type of Injury/Illness (Data since 1984)



Fracture

825

155

50

10



Laceration

447

58

29

1



Abrasion

233

40

7

2



Bruise

274

63

29

1



Sprain/strain

204

21

11

2



Concussion

150

14

13

6



Hypothermia

121

12

6

1





1951-98

1959-98

1999

1999





USA

CAN.

USA

CAN.



Type of Injury/Illness (cont.)











Frostbite

88

8

5

1



Dislocation

75

9

7

1



Puncture

30

5

0

3



Acute Mountain Sickness

21

0

2

0



HAPE

51

0

1

0



HACE

17

0

2

0



Other3

200

33

10

2



None

134

73

7

3



1These illnesses/injuries, which led directly to the incident, included: fatigue (6), dehydration (8), snow-blindness, exhaustion (2), HACE (2), HAPE, collapsed lung, pneumothorax, appendicitis, and concussion.

2These included, among others: unable to self-arrest (8), hand hold or foothold broke off (9), dislodged rock severed climbing rope, “snagged” crampons (4), inadequate food/water (3), failed to turn back, rope “unclipped” from carabiner, did not check to see that fixed rope reached the destination, forgot to finish tie-in knot, dropped pack with needed protection in it, disappeared (Muir Snowfield), new rock climbing shoes - slipped on wet rock (2), cornice failure, whiteout (4), poor rope handling (4), white-out (6).

3These included: pneumothorax, snow blindness, collapsed lungs (3), dehydration (8), punctured lung, fatigue (6), exhaustion (2), rope burn (2), and appendicitis.

(Editor’s Note: Under the category “other, ” many of the particular items will have been recorded under a general category. For example, the climber who dislodges a rock that falls on another climber would be coded as Falling Rock/Object, or the climber who has a hand hold come loose and falls would also be coded as Fall On Rock.

In the category “Other” for the U.S. last year, Table III reported 86. This should have read 26. Totals have been corrected.)