We moved at a snail's pace as we tired from the elevation and soft snow, but the snow kept getting softer and deeper. As I traversed over to the bergschrund crux, I was often digging through waist deep snow, right up to the ice pitch. By this time it was snowing hard and the wind was blowing around 30-40 mph. The ice pitch had a continual dumping of windblown snow that was sluffing off the slopes above. I got thoroughly drenched from these pervasive ice crystals as I climbed 1 pitch of ice through the whiteout, stopping every time snow poured down on me to brace myself and cinch up my hood. This pitch normally would have been pretty easy but conditions definitely added to the stress factor!
Eric took the next trailbreaking lead and found another nice pitch of sustained 40 degree ice. Though exhausted at this point, I welcomed the ice for the break it provided from the soft snow. Plus it was fun! I finished another pitch of ice to the top of the route.
Unfortunately here the wind gusts picked up and visibility dropped to near zero. We had difficulty reaching the top of the Cap as a large bergschrund stopped us less than 100 ft from the top. Going left, it grew larger, so we backtracked to the right and end-ran it and were shortly on top of Liberty Cap.
The problem at this point was that we could barely see the snow 1 or 2 steps in front of us. Despite having our waypoints for descent set in the GPS, that only helped us for the larger scale routefinding. We realized that we could easily walk off a cliff or into a crevasse with the visibility as bad as it was. We were both thoroughly soaked and becoming mildly hypothermic. I was covered in rime ice, already had the "umbles" and was beginning to get the "stumbles" and both Eric and I had been shivering non-stop for the past 3 or 4 hours.
The last forecast we had seen showed the weather to dissipate Monday, so we decided it was best to set up shelter on the Cap to get warm & rested, and attempt to descend once visibility improved a bit more.
We dug a platform into the bergschrund wall that we had end-run and I built up some hardy wind walls. Despite the howling wind, the BD First Light we were using was pretty calm, and our biggest complaint was being buried from snow drifting over our tent. Eric took initiative and shoveled snow off the tent a couple of times throughout the night.
Everything in our packs was saturated, including our sleeping bags. Luckily neither of us was using down loft! We melted more water and spent the night gradually rewarming as we slept in our soggy bags and clothes.