The Hanging Valley: Mt Broderick and Liberty Cap


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
This thread has been locked
Messages 1 - 20 of total 29 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 27, 2009 - 04:17pm PT
Up in Little Yosemite Valley, just before Nevada Falls is a little-known hanging valley above and off to the left. For fifty years climbers have hiked through it on their way to Half Dome and its climbs, especially those on the south and southwest faces. I have been going up there since the sixties. This glacial feature forms between Mount Broderick and Liberty Cap, two similar, rather proud promontories that are almost pinnacles or spires. Leaving the main trail you access this small valley by hiking up steep talus towards the left edge of Liberty Cap and then following a thready little track around the toe of the wall then briefly third-classing into the very beginning of this ravine just where it drops off as a slotted cliff to Little Yosemite Valley proper.

Below roars the river and Vernal Falls while still to come would have been Nevada Falls had you kept hiking up the regular trail---the trail that would lead up to the High Country, Mount Lyell and of course before all that, a fork of it to the Half Dome cable route.

Up here in Little Yosemite Valley, the rock is uniformly superb and even this small distance from the Valley makes for a sense of freedom and adventure. Here only trails have been established, no concessionaires, no razz-ma-tazz. No machinery. Just the wilderness, albeit a kind of busy wilderness when you are near the main trail. For the visual excitement of the place is tremendous, the roaring falls, the Silver Apron above Vernal, the several places to enjoy the water, the higher altitude, the fern grottos below Vernal, so there are a lot of day hikers.

In Little Yosemite over the years a couple dozen routes have been put up, most of them do not appear in the guides since the green Roper guide. And even more obscure, in this hanging valley are also a couple of climbs, one of them is the horrendous Lightning Bolt which has been discussed recently here on several different threads. Although the Liberty Cap side of the valley doesn’t seem to possess many climbing possibilities, the Mount Broderick side---a sloping wall facing south, has more features. It also has some astounding granite. Here are some photos, some of them from 40 year-old prints

a view including Half Dome, Mt Broderick and Liberty Cap. You can get a good idea how steep Southern Belle and Karma are from here:

An older shot by others a bit closer:

On entering the lower end of the hanging valley:

The famed and near-secret Lightning Bolt, also near the lower mouth:

Further up the valley, a amazing display of glaciated features:

and a closer view:

and leaving the valley, heading towards Half Dome and the hidden lake nearby:

and a shot by others completely out of the valley, probably what it looks like right now in March:
scuffy b

4 to 8
Mar 27, 2009 - 04:34pm PT
You mean other than killing and eating, regnaD?

Agreed, that looks beautiful.
Is there a climb up that pillar, Peter?
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 27, 2009 - 04:49pm PT

There is a little bit of evidence of climbing on one or two of the obvious lines, but I don't have any info other than for Lightning Bolt which used to be a secret project of mine from 1973. That route got done by Walt S. having to aid it to put in bolts--- that would still be the only way you could establish it without just running it out for 120 ft, starting from the belay 30 ft above the ground.

Anyway, I think there is plenty to do back here. A camp could be established there too; water might be a problem. You would have to filter from the swamp/lake up further or go down to the river. There certainly is a lot of wildlife there too: bears, lions and back in 1968 I am certain we heard a wolf calling out late one night after some kind of immense animal fight nearby.

The wild looking glaciated, featured area I show has at least two gorgeous lines in it to do, no evidence of climbing there (there would have to be stance-bolts btw on that area) last I was up there about 10 years or so.

Here is a shot by others of a pretty rte on the NE side of Broderick, outside of the hanging valley btw:

Trad climber
Clackamas, Oregon
Mar 27, 2009 - 04:49pm PT
This is the way to approach Snake Dike if you prefer scenery over a maintained trail. The upper end of the valley has a choke point that is choked with a plant that looks a lot like poison oak.

Trad climber
Mar 27, 2009 - 04:59pm PT
Cool stuff!

That route in the last photo looks REALLY cool too...
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Mar 27, 2009 - 05:03pm PT
It is a beautiful place. I like to look at the large Aspens. There are bear claw marks on them from a long time ago that are now 20 - 30' in the air.

Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 27, 2009 - 05:08pm PT
Or 25 ft bears live there (g).
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 27, 2009 - 05:10pm PT
Or giant cougars that use them for scratching posts.
scuffy b

4 to 8
Mar 27, 2009 - 05:10pm PT
Those claw marks are at the same height as when they were
first installed, Ken.
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Mar 27, 2009 - 05:11pm PT
Peter, I suppose it's possible they mark the trees in early season when their is still snow. Check it out next time you're there, it is pretty cool. Better watch out for the giant bear.

tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Mar 27, 2009 - 05:13pm PT
There's lot's to do up there. I've spent a fair amount of time up that way, just lazing away the hours on the gubment clock. There's hard steetp looking stuff along with slabby stuff.

Anybody know the preferred easy route to the top of Liberty Cap?
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Mar 27, 2009 - 05:28pm PT
Coming down from the SFHD over several months while working on GU, I always seemed to be hustling, at nearly a run. I'd get into that valley and start glancing up at those slabby walls. Every time, it seems, I would get pulled up short, end up just standing and staring at the improbably beautiful rock, and at nearly-impossible looking lines up it.

Trad climber
El Portal, CA
Mar 27, 2009 - 05:33pm PT
I've been wondering what lines there are in LYV. The views are superb, the rock looks exceptional, and the solitude is, well, really available compared to other parts of Yosemite.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 27, 2009 - 05:46pm PT
I think there is some kind of policy about not guidebooking the routes back in sensitive areas at least. I think one of the 70's guides mentions it.

Perhaps like the Peanut Apron and routes above the trail on Upper Yos. Falls---but there for safety reasons. Anyway a feature that should not go down into obscurity is Nevada Flake. Hilarious, fun-day routes, playing near the falls. The Slot Machine II 5.7 A2; Center rte II 5.5 A2; and the Right Side I 5.7. info from Roper Green 1971. The two aid lines might be free now, who knows? It is slabby too.

Now, to address Chicken's issue, go to:
Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Mar 28, 2009 - 01:20am PT
Pretty special stuff, thanks Peter. More riches on this globe to explore and bring joy than we can get a grip on...a tick list is a wonderful thing....:D

Boulder climber
east vinod nagar , delhi
Mar 28, 2009 - 08:21am PT
I like traveling and mountain and valley I like most!
Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
Mar 28, 2009 - 10:24am PT
I agree with Pate, great thread Peter

Mountain climber
Olympia, WA
Mar 28, 2009 - 12:09pm PT
This is a fine example of the perfect playground wilderness that Yosemite is. Climbing opportunities aside, what a fantastic outing, and with few, if any, other people along the way. The valley and environs have so many obscure and pristine places that are still nearly undiscovered. This is a classic. Thanks Peter.

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
Mar 28, 2009 - 05:38pm PT
this is lovely... i'd love to hang out in there for a few hours. looks really fun. thanks!

Social climber
Mar 29, 2009 - 12:29am PT
You mean down in there??

A long way around

And down into

Messages 1 - 20 of total 29 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta