American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Reported Mountaineering Accidents, Table III

  • Accident Tables
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2005

TABLE III



1951-03

USA

1959-03

CAN.

2004

USA

2004

CAN.



Terrain



Rock

4141

503

96

18



Snow

2289

341

46

5



Ice

231

146

18

12



River

14

3

0

0



Unknown

22

9

0

0



Ascent or Descent



Ascent

2735

555

118

23



Descent

2152

352

40

10



Unknown

247

10

1

2



OtherN.B.

6

0

1

0



Immediate Cause



Fall or slip on rock

2887

273

71

10



Slip on snow or ice

915

198

35

7



Falling rock, ice, or object

585

131

16

4



Exceeding abilities

500

29

25

1



Illness1

357

25

5

1



Stranded

310

49

13

3



Avalanche

276

120

2

5



Exposure

257

13

7

0



Rappel Failure/Error2

252

44

11

1



Loss of control/glissade

185

16

7

0



Nut/chock pulled out

183

8

8

1



Failure to follow route

164

29

7

0



Fall into crevasse/moat

152

48

1

2



Piton/ice screw pulled out

87

12

7

0



Faulty use of crampons

87

5

5

0



Lightning

45

7

1

0



Skiing3

50

10

1

1



Ascending too fast

61

0

3

0



Equipment failure

13

3

1

0



Other4

358

34

27

1



Unknown

60

9

1

0



Contributory Causes



Climbing unroped

960

161

19

2



Exceeding abilities

877

199

4

1



Placed no/inadequate protection

646

94

27

2



Inadequate equipment/clothing

630

68

21

0



Weather

442

63

10

1



Climbing alone

370

67

13

2



No hard hat

304

28

12

1



114 / ACCIDENTS IN NORTH AMERICAN MOUNTAINEERING 2005



1951-03

USA

1959-03

CAN

2004

USA

2004

CAN



Contributory Causes (continued)



Nut/chock pulled out

196

31

0

1



Inadequate belay

181

27

9

1



Darkness

134

20

2

0



Poor position

151

20

6

0



Party separated

110

10

3

2



Piton/ice screw pulled out

86

13

0

0



Failure to test holds

89

28

4

3



Exposure

57

13

0

0



Failed to follow directions

71

11

0

0



Illness1

39

9

0

0



Equipment failure

11

7

0

0



Other4

251

99

5

1



Age of Individuals



Under 15

123

12

2

0



15-20

1226

202

9

1



21-25

1304

246

33

5



26-30

1208

205

27

3



31-35

1011

110

18

2



36-50

1090

136

58

5



Over 50

191

27

15

2



Unknown

1900

504

33

13



Experience Level



None/Little

1676

294

48

5



Moderate (1 to 3 years)

1494

354

50

0



Experienced

1718

427

79

6



Unknown

1915

511

43

24



Month of Year



January

202

23

7

2



February

196

51

2

4



March

279

66

13

2



April

381

33

8

5



May

847

55

18

2



June

979

65

30

4



July

1061

244

24

6



August

987

177

15

4



September

1136

70

11

4



October

415

38

20

0



November

175

14

5

2



December

86

24

7

0



Unknown

17

1

0

0



Type of Injury/Illness (Data since 1984)



Fracture

1049

206

67

10



Laceration

622

71

35

0





1951-03

USA

1959-03

CAN

2004

USA

2004

CAN



Type of Injury/Illness (Data since 1984) (continued)



Abrasion

299

75

10

1



Bruise

406

77

27

4



Sprain/strain

281

29

24

2



Concussion

201

28

13

0



Hypothermia

144

15

3

1



Frostbite

112

9

4

0



Dislocation

99

15

10

1



Puncture

42

13

1

0



Acute Mountain Sickness

39

0

1

0



HAPE

65

0

1

0



HACE

23

0

0

0



Other5

274

43

20

4



None

184

182

23

6



N.B. Some accidents happen when climbers are at the top or bottom of a route, not climbing. They may be setting up a belay or rappel or are just not anchored when they fall. (This category created in 2001. We still have “Unknown” because of solo climbers.)

1These illnesses/injuries, which led directly or indirectly to the accident, included: AMS, deep vein thrombosis, tooth problems, HAPE, frostbite, and an acute abdomen.

2These include no back-up-knot—so rappelled off end of ropes, inadequate anchors, rope too short, improper use of descending device, inattention by belayer when lowering.

3This category was set up originally for ski mountaineering. Backcountry touring or snow- shoeing incidents—even if one gets avalanched—are not in the data.

4These include: hand or foothold broke off (10); frostbite (3); unable to self-arrest (7); rope ascender came off; failure to disclose medical condition to guides (2); dislocated shoulder while manding; rope jammed in crack; carrying ice ax upside down; bee attack; simul-climbing—so too much slack in rope; ice pillar broke off; threw whole rope down—so stranded; let go of ice tools; tied webbing knot incorrectly on rappel anchor—so came undone when weighted; late starts resulting in benighting (2); failure to follow instincts; wet rock (3); leader unable to communicate with belayer (2).

5These included: dehydration and exhaustion (5), DVT, rope burns on hands; kidney failure; collapsed lung; pneumo/hemothorax; heat exhaustion; multiple bee stings; internal injuries; acute abdomen (unknown problem); tooth problems; lightning burns.

(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.

A climber disappeared on Mt. Sir Sanford, but no details are known as to whether it was on ascent or descent or what the cause may have been so it is reported as “unknown.”

This ANAM article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.

Comments