St. Marks Peak is a small peak, more of a bump actually. However, it is quite a spectacular bump, due to the steep topography to the west and to the east, dropping down 1400m steeply to the ocean. The access is easiest from the Cypress ski area, where we began our trip. The ski area was still closed, but quite a few people were milling around. It turned out that around 25 of these people were also heading up our trail, an organized Korean looking group. We let them pass us and slowed down so that we could enjoy the peace and quiet. I guess this is how others feel when they see huge VOC groups in the backcountry.
There was enough snow to make the trail much more interesting than it normally would be, both by hiding the slippery roots and providing some sharp looking icicles on the rocks. I love how these icicles look like they are made of glass, and yet are so brittle that one can easily pick one off the rocks and try to bite on it. We stopped at the Bowen lookout for a quick snack and a beautiful view of Bowen Island. Soon enough we were on the summit of St. Marks Peak, it isn’t a long hike. It was a sunny day, and the views were astounding. The combination of snow and the ocean is striking and is very typical of the coast mountains. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch, made much more peaceful once the two big groups disappeared. Aside from them, we barely saw anyone – this trail appears to be much less popular than Mt. Seymour or the Grouse trails, despite being short and scenic.
We considered continuing along the ridge to Unnecessary Mountain, but after our relaxing break in the sun deemed it quite unnecessary, thereby confirming that peak’s name. On the way down we saw a weird sight: two tibetan monks hiking up the snowy trail in their orange robes and street shoes. I suspect they might have come to Vancouver to partake in the Tibet global action day that happened that week.