Left Denver at 4 AM and made it to the trailhead around 6:30. The road to the trailhead was good but fairly icy about 2 miles in, went slow in 4WD Low. Snow started to stack up towards the trailhead so you'd need clearance to get all the way.
After getting all our gear together we hit the trail at 6:45 AM, it was a very calm and clear morning at 4° F with just enough light to go without headlamps. After checking out the first bit of trail and it was already broken and fairly packed snow, so we opted for microspikes and left the snowshoes in the SUV.
Trail at the Trailhead
The trail was good as you could tell someone had been on it recently so it was packed snow for the first mile or so and we hiked at a moderate pace. The sun finally showed itself at the turnoff of the Colorado Trail at 7:30.
Turnoff of CO Trail
From here the intensity and elevation started to increase as we moved closer to the treeline, the snow also started to become less packed so there was a bit of trudging but staying in previous tracks helped.
Trail just below the treeline
We made it above the treeline (12,000 ft) at 9:40 so just under 3 hours and attributed a bit of time loss to thicker snow in certain areas of the trees. From here on up we were on rock, scree, or ice with a few patches of snow blow here and there. The wind started to increase as we moved towards the 1st false summit.
Looking up towards the false summit
From here on it got very windy and the trail up the ridge was all covered in snow/ice. The microspikes helped big time here. As we made our way around and up the ridge it got really hairy in spots so we had to be very sure footed and glued to the mountain when a big gust of wind would come. After reaching the top of the false summit it was a mental battle to get to the top as our legs were shot, we had both done strenuous leg activity just 3 days earlier so I suggest being well rested before attempting this climb. We finally reached the summit at 1:30 PM (6 hrs 45 mins) and spent just enough time at the top to take a few pics then headed back down as it was very windy and cold.
Summit looking west
It took us 3.5 hours to get down which put us back at the vehicle at 5:00 PM, quite a day. This hike is not one to be taken lightly, it's the tallest in CO and 2nd highest in lower 48 for a reason, its tough. Also my GPS recorded our round trip route at 11 miles, 3 miles longer than the 8 mile trail route recorded here on this site. I believe my GPS to be accurate so that's something to consider as well.