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

Reported Mountaineering Accidents, Table III



1951-05

1959-05

2006 2006





USA

CAN.

USA CAN.



Terrain









Rock

4310

528

68



Snow

2268

355

36



Ice

254

158

5



River

14

3

0



Unknown

22

10

0



Ascent or Descent









Ascent

2853

587

73



Descent

2192

371

35



Unknown

248

13

1



Other™

7

0

0



Immediate Cause









Fall or slip on rock

3407

290

60



Slip on snow or ice

971

207

19



Falling rock, ice, or object

610

137

4



Exceeding abilities

535

32

5



Illness1

375

26

7



Stranded

329

53

6



Avalanche

284

127

2



Exposure

265

14

5



Rappel Failure/Error2

274

47

10



Loss of control/glissade

199

17

7



Nut/chock pulled out

196

9

10



Failure to follow route

176

30

3



Fall into crevasse/moat

153

50

6



Piton/ice screw pulled out

95

13

0



Faulty use of crampons

95

6

7



Lightning

46

7

0



Skiing3

53

11

2



Ascending too fast

65

0

0



Equipment failure

14

3

1



Other4

413

37

25



Unknown

61

10

0



Contributory Causes









Climbing unroped

987

165

17



Exceeding abilities

885

202

10



Placed no/inadequate protection





15



Inadequate equipment/clothing

664

70

8



Weather

462

67

5



Climbing alone

389

69

5



No hard hat

327

71

10





1951-05

1959-05

2006 2006





USA

CAN

USA CAN



Nut/chock pulled out

199

32

0



Inadequate belay

197

28

5



Poor position

166

20

2



Darkness

140

21

1



Party separated

115

12

2



Failure to test holds

97

32

3



Piton/ice screw pulled out

86

13

0



Failed to follow directions

73

12

0



Exposure

59

16

5



Illness1

40

9

0



Equipment failure

11

7

0



Other4

256

100

4



Age of Individuals









Under 15

1243

12

0



15-20

1258

203

8



21-25

1358

257

30



26-30

1257

211

16



31-35

1051

114

12



36-50

1177

143

30



Over 50

217

31

9



Unknown

1947

530

22



Experience Level









None/Little

1739

304

20



Moderate (1 to 3 years)

1575

354

20



Experienced

1855

440

47



Unknown

1983

559

42



Month of Year









January

218

25

6



February

202

55

4



March

299

68

4



April

397

39

4



May

882

62

18



June

1026

70

18



July

1109

254

12



August

1011

184

16



September

1155

75

10



October

439

42

9



November

184

20

4



December

93

24

4



Unknown

17

1

0



Type of Injury/Illness (Data since 1984)







Fracture

1171

223

48



Laceration

670

71

15





1951-05

1959-05

2006 2006





USA

CAN

USA CAN



Abrasion

321

76

9



Bruise

450

83

12



Sprain/strain

314

33

17



Concussion

215

28

10



Hypothermia

152

16

2



Frostbite

120

12

5



Dislocation

113

16

4



Puncture

43

13

1



Acute Mountain Sickness

42

0

1



HAPE

68

0

3



HACE

24

0

1



Other5

302

49

13



None

224

188

14



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. The category unknown is primarily because of solo climbers.)

1These illnesses/injuries, which led directly or indirectly to the accident, include: severe ischemia & coronary occlusion, HAPE, HACE, AMS, frostbite, pneumonia, corneal abrasion, burns (2), panic attack, mental breakdown, hypothermia, myocardial infarction, and fatigue (4).

2These include inadequate anchors, rappelled off the end of the rope, uneven ropes, harness loop broke, inattention by belayers when lowering.

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

4These include: unable to self-arrest (5), lowering errors (5), late start (3) hand- or foot-hold broke off (5), rope-drag, disappeared, fuel bottle blew up, rope stuck in crack, via ferrata, weighted leg incorrectly—so dislocated knee, climbing rope under leg while leading—so climber turned upside down in fall, jumped off boulder, client falls into another client on fixed rope (Denali), failed to follow avalanche advisory.

5These include: severe ischemia & coronary occlusion, pneumonia, corneal abrasion, burns —fuel bottle explosion (2) and rope (2), panic attack, mental breakdown, hypothermia, myocardial infarction, and fatigue

(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. A climber who has a hand- or foot-hold come loose and falls would be coded as Fall On Rock and Other—and most often includes Failure To Test Holds.)