South & Middle Maidenwater (North Wash)

Near the head of South Maidenwater

South Maidenwater

South Maidenwater is a spectacular canyon in the North Wash area. With an aesthetic head, some nice downclimbs and a few funky rappels, the canyon (for whatever reason) reminded me of Zion's Behunin Canyon.
Spotting DB on a downclimb

Me, DB, Rick Kent, Mike Cressman and Andy from Colorado romped through South Maidenwater only a day after someone had first recommended it to us. None of us had ever heard of it before. But it's a terrific canyon!
Mike stemmed out and posing

South Maidenwater struck me as a canyon with many faces. With long, semi-open stretches of high-walled canyon, to dry, brushy slots, to wet, narrow chambers, it is a beautiful canyon that I was very thankful to have been turned on to.
DB on rappel

Although I'd known Mike and Rick for a few years, I'd only met Andy once before, when he and I had climbed the Maroon Bells, outside of Aspen, Colorado. I'd told him about our upcoming trip to North Wash and he'd immediately expressed interest. Despite being a rookie to canyoneering, he took to it right away and did well. Sadly, a week after our trip, he'd badly injure himself on a fall while climbing Pyramid Peak, one of Colorado's 14ers.
Mike approaches a large chockstone

On a lighter note, this great weekend of North Wash canyoneering was probably highlighted by this terrific journey through South Maidenwater. It got me to wondering about its northern neighbor, Middle Maidenwater, another technical slot, and its walk-through north cousin, North Maidenwater...not to mention the ultra-skinny Trail Canyon, to the south.
Funky downclimbing

Perhaps additional exploration was in order...
CP's about to get wet!

Middle Maidenwater

Having finished up South Maidenwater in fine style, I was eager for a look at Middle Maidenwater. DB was finished for the day, but volunteered to wait at the vehicles while the boys took a romp through Middle.
The first rappel in Middle Maidenwater

Like South Maidenwater, a beautiful, short hike took us to the drop-in to the canyon. With a short rappel, we entered the slot and headed down. The others were content to take it slow and live in the moment, but I got a bug in me to try to fly through the canyon.
Mike exploring the canyon

With a few rappels and quite a few downclimbs, I car-to-car'd the canyon in roughly one hour. Nice canyon, but nothing like its partner to the south!

*Photos courtesy of Rick Kent