Slickrock Divide separates two large drainages. To either side of this hill, streambeds channel rain runoff and debris into Grand Wash to the north, and Capitol Gorge to the south. When rain does come to Capitol Reef, it often descends in torrents. Large expanses of bare rock and thin patches of soil can do little to absorb and hold it.
Poets sometimes speak of water as "carving the face of the land". However, rushing water shapes this landscape by carrying away material already loosened by weathering. Gravity draws loosened debris to washes where it is picked up by moving water. This slow process of gravitational "creep" is accelerated by the deluges of desert thunderstorms that wash down slopes and flush loose debris into channels soon filled with a tumbling, red torrent.
Imagine all the torrents of a plateau converging upon a single gorge and you will realize how floods develop in a "flash".