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

Reported Mountaineering Accidents, Table III



1951–99

1959–99

2000

2000





USA

CAN.

USA

CAN.



Terrain











Rock

3759

455

85

11



Snow

2138

324

61

6



Ice

207

112

4

6



River

13

3

0

0



Unknown

22

8

0

0



Ascent or Descent











Ascent

3345

483

93

18



Descent

2023

337

57

5



Unknown

247

5

0

0



Immediate Cause











Fall or slip on rock

2611

245

67

8



Slip on snow or ice

844

171

30

7



Falling rock, ice, or object

523

118

14

4



Exceeding abilities

453

28

14

0



Avalanche

262

111

2

3



Exposure

241

13

2

0



Illness1

300

22

15

0



Stranded

280

40

8

0



Rappel Failure/Error2

228

40

9

1



Loss of control/glissade

171

16

11

0



Fall into crevasse/moat

141

44

4

0



Failure to follow route

134

28

8

0



Nut/chock pulled out

124

4

14

0



Piton/ice screw pulled out

87

12

0

0



Faulty use of crampons

74

5

4

0



Lightning

40

7

2

0



Skiing3

50

9

0

0



Ascending too fast

46

0

1

0



Equipment failure

11

2

0

0



Other4

269

32

19

0



Unknown

60

8

0

0



Contributory Causes











Climbing unroped

919

153

15

2



Exceeding abilities

847

194

13

2



Inadequate equipment/clothing

567

75

19

0



Placed no/inadequate protection

553

79

27

5



Weather

400

58

9

0



Climbing alone

338

60

7

1



No hard hat

269

28

7

0



Nut/chock pulled out

189

17

5

0



Inadequate belay

144

22

8

2



Darkness

123

19

5

0



Poor position

126

15

9

3



Party separated

105

10

0

0



Piton/ice screw pulled out

84

10

1

1





1951-99

1959-99

2000

2000





USA

CAN.

USA

CAN.



Contributory Causes, cont.



Failure to test holds

80

19

1

3



Exposure

56

13

0

0



Failed to follow directions

68

11

1

0



Illness1

33

4

4

2



Equipment failure

10

7

1

0



Other4

239

85

4

5



Asre of Individuals



Under 15

117

12

1

0



15-20

1175

199

18

2



21-25

1199

236

26

2



26-30

1095

193

20

7



31-35

740

102

21

5



36-50

937

124

44

7



Over 50

154

22

8

1



Unknown

999

622

44

7



Experience Level



None/Little

1554

291

39

1



Moderate (1 to 3 years)

1386

346

15

1



Experienced

1510

371

41

22



Unknown

1630

443

80

6



Month of Year



January

193

16

3

2



February

184

41

2

2



March

256

55

5

1



April

349

29

12

3



May

762

50

20

1



June

912

59

29

2



July

962

230

23

1



August

905

155

26

4



September

1086

58

12

3



October

364

30

9

0



November

166

10

3

1



December

75

19

6

2



Unknown

12

1

0

0



Type of Injury/Illness (Data since 1984)



Fracture

875

165

63

13



Laceration

476

59

29

4



Abrasion

240

65

10

3



Bruise

303

64

20

5



Sprain/strain

215

23

8

1



Concussion

163

20

11

1



Hypothermia

127

13

2

1



Frostbite

93

9

2

0



Dislocation

82

10

8

0



Puncture

30

5

3

4





1951-99

1959-99

2000

2000





USA

CAN.

USA

CAN.



Type of Injury/Illness (Data since 1984), cont.



Acute Mountain Sickness

23

0

4

0



HAPE

52

0

4

0



HACE

19

0

0

0



Other5

210

35

12

1



None

141

76

24

0



'These illnesses/injuries, which led directly to the accident, included: AMS (3), HAPE (4), exhaustion (3), ataxia, snow blindness, respiratory distress, acute abdomen, fatigue, dehydration, and hypothermia.

2This includes rappelling off the end of the rope, anchor(s) inadequate, lowering a climber (from above or below).

This category was set up originally for ski mountaineering. Backcountry touring or snowshoeing incidents—even if one gets avalanched—are not included in the data

4These included: failure to turn back (5), hand-hold broke off (3), haste (4), improper haulrope technique, improper tie-in, dislocated shoulder during self-arrest, old webbing broke when weighted, failure to disclose medical condition, webbing parted—ends held together by masking tape, high wind blew person over, slack in belay rope—wrapped around leader’s leg and pulled him out of position, route underrated in guide book, anger and frustration.

5These included: pneumothorax (2), rope burns on hands (2), lightning burns (4), lost consciousness—lightning (3), exhaustion/fatigue (5), lost sensation in lower legs temporarily, collapsed lung, torn rotor-cuff, respiratory distress, acute abdomen, snow blindness, and ruptured kidney

(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.)