Hike from Willow Lake th near Crestone @ 8800'. Left at 5 am w healdlamp, which kept me from seeing both the 'short', very steep, rocky nature of the approach up to WL and the incredible beauty. If you just do half of this hike you will be well rewarded with views of rock spires that evoke high and remote mountain ranges and waterfalls that trickle over sheer rock faces. However, things didn't end at Willow Lake @ 11,xxx something. By this time it was light enough to see the soaring rocky peaks all around the mountain lake. The way to the aptly named Challenger Point led around the lake, above the waterfall-bejeweled cliffs at the far end and up an increasingly steep slope of several thousand feet elevation gain, albeit on a climbers trail. There was some snow, and hands and feet scrmbling. Several hundred vertical feet from the top I finally ditched my pack (enough stuff for a comfortable emergency night in the mountains, perhaps too comfortable because it felt like a lead block). Clouds were blowing in, so I was a little hesitant about leaving it and possibly not finding it on the way down. By the time I got to the ridge, the clouds were engulfing the mountain and made possible a scenario where I wouldn't be able to find the way down at all. In addition, a young climber had caught up to me (he said he had done the ascent in 4 hours to my 6 - which did include several extended breaks, and I have no reason to disbelieve him,) who had climbed 37 of the Colorado 14'ers. For some reason, it seemed like a good gesture to leave the summit to him alone who cared much about such things, and begin the descent. i felt that reaching the ridge at or near 14,000, a few hundred meters easy walk from the summit was enough. There was some magic in those thoughts.
here is photography of somebody else's experience of the hike. A little slow but the first 4 minutes have some representative shots and at least it doesn't have obnoxious music or close-up shots of blisters, etc.:) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TOYI9j6s9g