Kim and I had a great time joining Darin and Mike on the trip - but took a different approach due to this being Kim's first real snow camping trip (she has lots of experience skiing, snowshoeing, backpacking and trekking - just not snow camping). Our goal was to still go light, but make safety, comfort, and a bailout plan key considerations.
We both started off on skis with pulks - Kim immediately switched to snowshoes after deciding she wasn't comfortable with the pulk/skinny ski combination on the steep downhill just off the trailhead (ironically, probably the steepest of the entire route we traversed).
I used Karhu XCD GTs with Karhu Traverse boots and Rottefella basic tele bindings, and found them - for the terrain we covered - far more efficient than snowshoes, especially with the pulk. Even pulling both pulks (taking over when Kim fatigued), I was able to lead the pack most of the time, and keep up even on the few steeper climbs we faced (at one point, due to the drag of two pulks, I put skins on). If I were to return to do the full circle, I'd personally favor skis - but also note Mike's assessment of the trickier terrain and deep powder they faced on the eastern side of the route.
Either way, the pulk was such an efficient way to go on this route - easy to ski with, providing extra momentum and push on rolling downhills, and providing more comfort when stopping even for a few seconds (no significant weight to support). I didn't have any trouble with the single pulk on knife-edge and sidehill traverses.
We carried a Hilleberg Jannu, Western Mountaineering sleeping bags, lightweight shell jackets (Arc'teryx and Patagonia), softshell pants (REI and Cloudveil), and a mix of down and ultralight synthetic insulating layers (BPL and Sporthill for me; Marmot for Kim). We cooked on a remote canister Primus stove with a heat exchanger pot - very efficient for snow melting.
The Jannu was overkill for the conditions we actually got, though had the advertised winds swept through camp, we'd have been even more glad to have it. We envied Darin's ease of camp setup with the bivy sack, and Mike's equally roomy but lighter Stephenson tent (the Jannu is an excellent tent but arguably not worth the extra weight unless winds or snow loading are expected to be harsh). We did get some condensation both nights out, but felt we had only marginal weight gain on the down bags. Our clothing systems worked well - no discoveries either way on that.
As for the location - it's one of the most beautiful destinations we've visited, and striking in winter; we highly recommend this trip to anyone with the skills to tackle it. (Big thanks to Darin and Mike for sharing at least part of it with us, and congratulations for making the full circle in the face of some challenging conditions!)
Our photos are here:
Steve and Kim's Crater Lake Photos
[edited to make link clickable]