Yet another beautiful view of Yosemite - made the bushwacking and falling in snow up to waist well worth it. Even made a snow angel off of the JMT on my way back.
Beautiful hike in the newly fallen snow. Saw only two other people all day long on the hike up from the Happy Isles trailhead. Yosemite in winter is a much different experience than the summertime tourist zoo.
A little bushwhacking, a little scrambling, rewards one with great views in all directions, plus weathered Jeffery Pines, reminiscent of the one that expired on Sentinel Dome. The most amazing thing though, especially for Yosemite in June is there was no one else on the summit!
I didn't find much information about the route to climb Liberty Cap, but not much was necessary. I took the Mist Trail past Vernal and Nevada Falls which were running low, but still were an impressive sight. From the intersection of the Mist Trail with the JMT just beyond the top of Nevada Falls, I continued about 1/4 mile till I could see the plateau to the NE of the summit of Liberty Cap. There are some light trails here and there, and there are cairns marking the trail from here if you can spot them. In either case, it is rather easy to find a way to this broad barren area at about 6500'. See the TOPO! 3D map I uploaded for some perspective of the route. From here, looking SW, you will see the scrambling gully covered in shrubs heading up Liberty Cap. Again, it is possible to find light trails now and then, but any route works, some just require more bushwacking. I ascended the climbers left side of the gully, and descended on the opposite side. Both routes are not difficult, but use some caution because there are areas where it would be tough to stop yourself once you lost footing. The view from the top is awesome with Half Dome looking to the North, and the Yosemite Valley to the West. I highly recommend a hike up Liberty Cap. Despite seeing a couple hundred people on the trial along the way, not a single person was on the summit, and the light trails didn't show any footprints.
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.