By Alan Gionet

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Carl Marvin handed his climbing partner Eric a 3300 lumen lamp late Monday atop 14,000 foot Quandary Peak. A light so bright, Carl wrote, that “it has the potential to literally light your pants on fire if it accidentally turned on in your pocket.”

But it cut through the weather and darkness to create a shadowy image of their arrival at the summit.

It looks like a painting, but the image is a photo of their decision to go for it on Monday night in light snow, but still favorable weather for a night climb.

(credit: Carl Marvin)

“I do these ‘weeknight adventures’ pretty often,” Carl explained to me. “It’s definitely more challenging in the winter as it’s dark after work, but nothing a bright headlight can’t fix!”

They made their plan to head up Quandary after Eric noticed that the forecasted winds for Monday night looked extremely light. That was even after the heavy weekend snow. They packed up and drove up directly after work Monday. It took them about two hours to climb the 14.265 foot peak. Quandary has a relatively gentle incline on one side, but the oxygen-depleted altitude and February snow make no 14er a walk in the park. Add to that the temperature at the top — it was 10 below zero. They didn’t stay long.

After the summit, the two skied down.

“We were skiing very conservatively on the upper ridge to ensure we stayed out of avalanche terrain and didn’t fall and injure ourselves,” Carl wrote. “The wind was very light and we were very warm from moving quickly on the ascent, so it didn’t feel too cold.”

Above treeline the skiing was “challenging” but in the trees the fresh waist-deep powder was a skiers dream.

Carl and Eric got down in about an hour, went home and got a solid 8 hours of sleep, got up and went to work Tuesday.

It can be done.

Alan Gionet


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