The trail from the Loj was hard packed all the way to Marcy dam. When we had hiked this Marcy dam was still intact, it has since been destroyed by hurricane Irene, and the remnants removed.
The Van Hoevenberg trail from the dam to the junction with the trail for Phelps was not as hard pack, and had fresh snow on it. This is a nice trail especially under snow pack since all the rocks and roots are covered. This is a nice relief with tired legs.
The trail to Phelps is uneventful until you just start to come out of the trees where we were presented with a nice ledge of flow ice. We used crampons for this section.
It does not take long to reach the summit which is basically a ledge with a view of Marcy. We did not have any views since it was all over cast with snow showers.