Left Backpacker's camp around 11 am, heading for JMT. Lots of crowds going to the Mist Trail, but JMT was comparatively empty. Made good time to the top of Nevada Fall, then found a good use trail (NOT the 50' one) over the shoulder of the ridge. This trail brought me basically to the base of the slabs and bushes below the gully. No problem routefinding up to the summit--it came up quicker than I expected. Great, snowy views over the high country. Only sat on top for a few minutes before heading back down for work. Missed the good trail on the descent and ended up doing some sucky bushwacking. Finally back down JMT and to camp with 45 minutes to spare before my shift started. Excellent hike!
Got a late start (3:40 P.M.!) out of Curry Village. Battled the crowds all the way up Mist Trail to Vernal Falls. They seemed to drop off after that. Made the top of Nevada Falls in and hour and a half from Curry. Headed up the JMT and saw the Libert Cap saddle mentioned by Burd. Some weak use trails headed in the general direction but still had a bit of bushwacking. Made the saddle and headed up the gulley. Took the LHS of the gulley, should have taken the RHS, easier climb. There was little snow but great views of Nevada and Vernal Falls - not to mention the Emerald Pool. Enjoyed the sunset for about 20 min. from the summit and returned to Curry Village by 8:30 p.m. Great hike, ~ 9 mi. round trip.
Enjoyed a perfect day and great views of Nevada Falls, Half Dome and the valley from the summit.