11 Outdoor Activities With The Highest Death-Rates

We aim to be active in order to live longer. And we try to find hobbies that we are the most interested in that we can do on a regular basis. Unfortunately, some activities and hobbies have the opposite effect, and put your life in danger more than you may want to admit. Thinking about trying an activity that may be on our list? Here are, in no particular order, some outdoor activities with the highest death rates.

1. Rock Climbing

Climbing boasts a handful of health benefits. And thanks to indoor gyms, is a more accessible activity than ever. but for those taking part in the outdoor version, the risk goes up quite a bit. According to Teton Gravity Research’s roundup of most deadly activities, one in every 1,750 mountain climbers die every year. They also report that the higher the climb, the greater the risk.

2. Boating

Sounds like a leisurely activity, right? Not much reason to fear for your life? In fact, it’s quite dangerous. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, there are over 4,000 accidents that involves more than 700 deaths, close to 3,000 injuries annually. 80% of the victims drowned — although most were reportedly not wearing life jackets — and in roughly 77% of the incidences, “the operator did not receive boating safety instructions.”

3. Skiing

You may be thinking: How can this vacation-friendly activity have such a high death rate? According to reports from the National Ski Areas Association, an average of about 41.5 people have died skiing or snowboarding per year over a 10 year span. Equipment issues and lack of safety instructions are common factors.

4. Cycling

Cycling has many positives. But it also means a greater chance of visiting the ER. NPR reported back in 2015 that the number of cycling related injuries doubled between 1998 and 2013, and that the number of deaths has followed a similar trend. Head and spine injuries are major causes.

5. Surfing

This sport has varying levels of danger mixed into it — most of which are difficult to determine. According to the National Weather Service, there were a reportedly 93 surfing fatalities in the United States in 2017. Natural conditions were the most prominent cause of death, with rip currents causing more than 60 of the fatalities.

6. Whitewater Rafting

This popular vacation activity isn’t for anyone looking to kick back and relax. Plus, it can also be quite dangerous. American Whitewater reported back in 2007 that there is anywhere from six to 10 deaths per year from whitewater rafting. While inexperience and a lack of guidance often plays a part, they reported that roughly “25% to 30% of the fatalities on commercial raft trips each year are related to heart conditions or heart attacks.”

7. Scuba Diving

Here’s something to consider the next time you see a commercial for a vacation getaway that boasts beautiful scuba diving. University of Michigan biochemist Larry “Harris” Taylor, Ph.D. tells us that there are “about 150 fatalities per year in scuba diving in the US.” points to equipment failure, procedural errors, and even a diver’s poor health as risk factors.

8. Hang Gliding

Perhaps it isn’t all that big of a surprise that this outdoor activity comes with a list of hazards. Nevertheless, it is possibly the most dangerous activity there is — even more so than skydiving. In 2010 alone, there were reportedly 32 accidents due to hang gliding, seven of which resulted in fatalities.

9. Skydiving

It’s no wonder you have to sign a long waiver before partaking in this gravity-defying activity. According to, there were a reported 47 skydiving fatalities in 2017. While the numbers are lower than they were in previous years — 71 deaths in 2004 — the sport remains in credibly dangerous. Fatal errors most commonly occur upon landing.

10. Bungee Jumping

This activity is quite terrifying. But of all the extracurriculars on this list, is it as dangerous? According to there “is a higher likelihood of death when you drive at speeds of more than 100 mph than there is in bungee jumping.” That being said, there is still a high margin of human error still makes this activity extremely hazardous.

11. Parkour

This form of urban fitness, made popular by films like Casino Royale, is just as dangerous as it looks. The nature of the “sport” means that participants have little to no padding on, resulting in plenty of gashes and broken bones. And while there are no formal stats to show the exact number of parkour deaths, it is widely regarded as a deadly activity.

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