Liberty Cap

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

Today’s blog topic is a real educational experience. Liberty Cap is the 7,000 ft symmetric formation just to the left of Nevada Fall, going up to Half Dome. The upper Mist Trail hugs the south edge of Liberty Cap. So where does the name come from? Gee, I always thought that it looked like the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. A bit of research and I found that this is not the root of the name.  Turns out that in ancient Greece, the inhabitants of a place called Phrygia wore a soft conical hat with the top pulled forward … a type of symbolic and historical hat or cap. Many years later, the Romans also wore a similar looking cap. But in “modern times,” it became a  symbol of revolt. In 1789 the French revolutionary army wore the same kind of caps as part of their uniforms.  (And you know what happended to Marie Antoinette!) The caps represented the people’s quest for freedom to the monarchy. During the early years of the American Revolution, many of the soldiers who fought for the Patriot cause wore knitted stocking liberty caps of red, sometimes with the motto “Liberty” or “Liberty or Death” knitted into the band. OK so far?  So in 1865, when Governor Leland Stanford of California visited the park and toured the east end, he saw the dome and asked what the name of the formation was. It had gome by several and he was told: Mt. Frances, Gwen’s Peak, Bellow’s Butte, Mt. Broderick, and others. He didn’t like any of these, and he pulled out a half-dollar coin with the image of a “Liberty Cap” on it and proclaimed it “The Cap of Liberty” – that’s the name!

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Over hill, over dale  as we hit the dusty trail. And the Caissons go rolling along. In and out, hear them shout, counter march and right about. And the Caissons go rolling along.” – Army Anthem

*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

About Mr Half Dome - Rick Deutsch

Mr Half Dome. Has written the only half dome hiking guide, One Best Hike: Yosemite's Half Dome. Has hiked it 31 times to day. Lives in San Jose, CA Available for presentations. Carpe Diem Experience, LLC
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3 Responses to Liberty Cap

  1. mrhalfdome says:

    “We are from France”…Beldar Conehead

  2. Randy says:

    Nice work Rick. I had always assumed the Liberty Bell was the inspiration. It’s great to perserve the true history. It’s a good thing television wasn’t invented then or it might be called Cone Head.

  3. Dean says:

    Liberty Cap is quite pleasing on the eye, though I do wonder about the fissure running diagonally on the east side…I imagine a big wedge just sliding off towards Mt Broderick!

    Also, I wanted to see the summit from the top of Half Dome but just couldn’t spot it…I went close to the edge but no joy..maybe I wasn’t looking properly?

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