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The Mogur 09-08-2011 03:02 PM

Bad Week at Blossom Bar!
Two more people have died in the last week in separate accidents at Blossom Bar on the Rogue River. On Sept 2, a drift boater got stuck broadside against the picket fence. He apparently drowned as a result of enganglement with a rope he was attempting to swim to shore. The second accident apparently happened yesterday (Sept 7). Both victims were 68 year old men, and are said to have been experienced boaters.

Does anyone know the total number of people who have died at Blossom Bar? In Grand Canyon, Crystal is known as the "deadliest rapid on the river," with a total of 5 deaths. I'm sure that Blossom has taken many more than that--there have been 4 deaths in Blossom Bar in just since the 2008 season; and I can remember several others over the years.

Is it possible that Blossom has become more dangerous? Sure, the flow is well above average for this time of year, but it is by no means anything that would be considered "high water."

brandob9 09-08-2011 04:29 PM

I wonder if these guys got out more than once a year. Flow is only 2100 CFS, so that's out for me.

Katboater 09-08-2011 04:43 PM

From what I have heard, the first guy with the driftboat didn't have a PFD on and the second guy went into the water and may have had a heart attack. Second hand info, but doesn't appear either were caught in the strainer that killed the two ladies a couple years ago. FWIW

Wavester 09-09-2011 08:05 AM

Sad and my heart goes out to the families involved. I heard that everyone involved was wearing a PFD. The consequences in Blossom are pretty severe, it's a bad place to wrap. Pretty straight forward rapid IF you make the entrance move. And I agree there has been a lot more water pushing through there this summer then normal but in some ways it is easier because there is less chance you will get hung up on a rock after the beaver chute. I have noticed a little harder pull into the entrance eddy then is normal for this time of year.

Crystal has mostly lost it's teeth since the the mid 90's or so, it used to be the most technical big rapid in the GC and one of the worst I ever had the pleasure to row in the 80's and early 90's, but since then it's pretty easy to cheat imho.

grant green 09-09-2011 01:54 PM

I see the drift boat got caught on the fence. Does anyone know where the other boat flipped? I'll be on the Rogue in 2 weeks and it would be nice to have a little scouting report.

Wadeinthewater 09-09-2011 03:19 PM

Blossom drownings
Second drowning in 5 days on Rogue River claims Eugene man in southern Oregon |

The Mogur 09-09-2011 04:03 PM


Originally Posted by grant green (Post 248724)
I see the drift boat got caught on the fence. Does anyone know where the other boat flipped? I'll be on the Rogue in 2 weeks and it would be nice to have a little scouting report.

The Oregonian said that the second accident happened on "the north side" of the river, meaning river right. But it didn't indicate whether that was at the top of the rapid, the middle, or the lower. When I was there in mid-July, there actually was a run down the right, but I really doubt that it could be open at this water level. Still, a video on YouTube shot shortly after the first accident shows someone starting on the far left, making the eddy turn to the center chute and then going to the right side.
That move is always possible, but is not the conventional route, which goes to the left of the VW rock.

One thing the YouTube video does illustrate very well is the need to make your eddy turn from the left-side entry early and strong. Timing is everything. If you're a second or two late making the cut, you'll end up where the drift boat is.

Another thing that it illustrates is the need to HIGH SIDE! I always make a point of reminding my passenges to be ready to go to the high side as soon as it looks like we might broadside a rock (or drift boat). But the two guys on the blue raft stay put as if their butts were glued to the seats, even as their raft goes over.

Avatard 09-09-2011 04:50 PM

Wow we did this a week earlier and i remember there was a lot more water present. The current at the top seemed a lot calmer, was pretty easy to do the pull into the eddy with my 18' leopard and 4 addn passengers

I always hug the shallows near the big rocks in river center so i know the pull into the eddy before center chute wont be against a strong current

I wonder at what point the government will consider removing a large rock or two to provide a safe channel passage (like fish ladder at Rainey)

Duce 09-09-2011 06:11 PM

Above 2k you can just hug near the horn and basically float straight into the eddy above the fence. The old school route is runnng far left and making the pull into the eddy, and then left of VW at the bottom (which in low water you have to do). Lately once I pass the fence into the chute I pull right into the "exit slot".

High water above 3 1/2 makes the pull left of VW a mother which I am sure many of you have noticed. Sad to hear about the loss of life this year (RIP).

Avatard 09-09-2011 06:22 PM

I wound up running it the main chute quite well other than bumping into the VW at the end of the run. The current was pushing me down the channel to the right and I bumped off the rock just prior to the VW. This turned my boat just enough and there was an "oshit" decision at the last second. This caused me to spin and hit into the nose of the VW, but current and rowing pushed my right corner along the left edge of it (although the boat did seem to dive on the left side a bit). I did have a ton of gear on my cat and had four passengers and two of their inflatable craft on board (nobody wanted to run it in a ducky). I was never worried of anything catastrophic through the run, just tired from fighting the current at that point of the run (and the day), and a my guard was down a bit after getting through the treacherous parts.

I could easily see if someone doesn't get the timing right at the top they could be screwed.

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