Washington man dies in White Salmon River kayak accident

Vail, Wash. — Area residents were saddened to learn over the weekend of the death of 20-year-old Logan Jauernigg, of Edwards, Wash.

Jauernigg, a 2013 graduate of Battle Mountain High School, drowned Friday in a kayaking accident on the Green Truss section of the White Salmon River in Washington state.

As of Sunday, official reports had yet to be released from the Klickitat County Search and Rescue. A kayaker who was with Jauernigg at the time of the incident said Jauernigg was separated from his kayak in the Zigzag Canyon rapid, and his body was subsequently pinned underwater.

Jauernigg was the third in a group of three kayakers who entered the rapid one at a time.

The Green Truss section of the White Salmon River is classified as Class V, or most difficult whitewater by American Whitewater. The Zigzag Canyon rapid consists of Upper Zigzag and Lower Zigzag, both approximately 200 yards long requiring expert navigation.

“He was always putting 100 percent into everything he did. I have never met anyone like him,” saod Annika Heid, a student at Battle Mountain High School.

“They are the type of rapids where it is difficult to offer any assistance, so you are pretty much on your own until you get to the recovery pool at the bottom,” reads the rapids description on the American Whitewater website.

Jauernigg lived in the Columbia River Gorge area from September to December of 2014 and was very familiar with the Green Truss section of whitewater, having completed the run approximately 20 times.

A kayaker who was with Jauernigg on Friday and also with him throughout his stay in the area in 2014 said Jauernigg was very confident in the rapid and knew every move well. The had group already descended what is considered more challenging rapids on the Green Truss, such as Big Brother — a 30-foot waterfall — and Double Drop, a set of ledge drops that stack on top of one another.

Despite being regularly paddled for more than 20 years, at least three other deaths have occurred on the Green Truss, including two in Zigzag Canyon, one in 1994 and one in 2012. The other death occurred upstream on Big Brother falls in 1997. Kayakers in all three incidents were described as being of expert ability.

Jauernigg, along with another local kayaker and a local sports photographer, was in the Pacific Northwest documenting descents on various rivers for a film project.

According to the film’s website, the film, titled “Type II,” was to explore “whitewater kayaking and the emotional and psychological process of adventure athletes pushing the envelope.” They planned to spend two weeks camping along the rivers of Washington and Oregon.

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