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470 Accidents in North American Mountaineering, 2011 2011-09-07

Accidents in North American Mountaineering

In late summer of each year the American Alpine Club publishes the Accidents in North American Mountaineering. It is not an exciting read; but it is an important book.

In the volume, the editors describe some of the accidents that occurred in the preceding year and give analysis or insight to the causes of the incidents. Some of the accidents are self reported and others are documented by the land managers or their personnel.

We all make mistakes in our outdoor travels. Most mistakes occur, without serious consequences; but others are not as lucky. Those are the accidents that are reported in the book. It is important to read the book to gain awareness and knowledge from the lessons of others. Some of the accidents could happen to you and me! Read, learn, and be careful.

A few of the accidents ...

While ice climbing, one of the climbers broke through an ice dam. page 17

While ice climbing, climbers were on an ice column when it collapsed. pages 42 and 103

Falling climber's arm was impaled by a carabiner. page 53

A climber disturbed a beehive and received over 1,000 stings. page 13

A climber fell in Yosemite and somehow severed the end of his thumb off - they found the piece of thumb and reattached it. page 39

There were seven incidents of rappelling off the end of the rope or lowering a climber off the end of the rope. Always tie a knot in the end of the rope! pages 35, 40, 47, 61, 63, 64, 71

There were a few reported accidents of folks scrambling over snow and rock. pages 78, 105, and 105 (again)

One climber fell and landed on his belayer, sending her to the hospital. page 45

Another climber fell and the belayer unintentionally disengaged the belay device. The climber landed on the belayers dog killing it. page 66

Then there was an absolutely bizarre rappelling accident. The girl was being taught to rappel on basically a clothes line with a shoe string as a prusik cord and no rappel device. page 73

The big accident happened in the Tetons in July. A huge thunderstorm moved through the area at about 1230. Three parties on the upper reaches of Grand Teton were struck by lightning. The story received national attention. page 107

It is important to remember that in each one of these accidents, someone got hurt, some folks even died. They are all tragic. Learn from their mistakes and be safe.

Happy accident free trails.



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