Originally Posted by crane
800 is not a bad first time level. four falls (not the first one) and deer creek actually clean up a bit but also gets juicier. the first part of the steeps is like a roller coaster. the only thing that gets much more difficult is supermax, and the bottom 1/2 is pretty scary looking. have fun i wish i were there.
I think Bailey > 700 is a good first time level if you are comfortable with V- and competent to paddle V. I have swam 2 times on Bailey out of dozens of runs. Both were on the same day, approaching 800 cfs. Both were hole rides that I couldn't manage to roll up afterwards. A lot of that was due to my own roll lameness, but the big holes and pushiness made it hard to recover. One of the swims was in Deer Creek and it was fucking horrible.
I saw a guy from another group get his butt kicked on Four Falls that day, something I have never seen before. I have seen people screw it up plenty at lower levels, but at 775 that guy took a complete ass-beating as the price for grabbing too much of the entrance hole (for the normal start at fall #2) and then proceeding to mess the rest of it up while mostly upside down and out of control and finally swimming out of the hole at fall #4.
A lot of paddlers say Bailey is not much harder with water in it but they are probably really good and the kind of paddlers who swim once every two years. I am experienced (but just an average IV+/V- kind of guy who takes a few lame swims every season) and I have to say that it IS much harder with water in it. It is a lot more dangerous too.