We started with an early morning and were the first ones at the trailhead at 7:30AM. The temperature was cool and the first, forested section of the trail had exposed sections of granite on the trail with a thin layer of ice making for some slippery conditions.
As we got higher up the tree line there started to be some snow present which started as trace and was up to several inches in places. The snow and the untravelled trail allowed us to see a number of animal tracks which included bear, grouse, rabbit, some kind of cat (bobcat?) and two sizes of canine (coyote and wolf?).
As we came out of the tree line onto the ridge there was more snow, as much as 18" to 2' in areas. The trail was little harder to make out because the snow obscured it. We found our way through and found ourselves following a clear set of bear tracks up the saddle toward the split between Needle and Flatiron. We kept a sharp eye out for our trail breaker but never saw it.
We made our way up the first scramble section and as far as the foot of the summit scramble. We stopped short due to time restrictions but the trail was passable, if slippery in sections.
We were very lucky with the weather and the views were amazing! Looking in every directions you can see mountain range after mountain range. This is a favorite hike for me!!