A few weekends back Nick and I went over and summitted all five peaks on Gambier Island as a loop starting and ending at the ferry terminal at New Brighton. Not having to use private water taxis and being able to be outside on both boats was a crucial goal at doing this during COVID. We also made sure that Gambier Island did not have any stop visitor notices like Bowen had at the time. Now with the current restrictions we would have postponed the trip.
We took the Langdale Ferry over to Sunshine Coast and then hopped on the $6.55 Stormaway ferry to New Brighton dock. We then took the Maple trail before connecting with the Mount Killam trail. 2.5 hours to the summit of Killam and we basked in the sun at the viewpoint. From there, we bushwhacked at ~430m elevation contours down to Mannion Creek and intersection with the Gambier Lake trail before heading up Liddel. Super steep for the first part and then it levelled out and we found flags. It has since been further improved by Steve and Jenn in the Bagger Challenge and is well flagged with debris moved. Another 3 hours from Killam summit to Liddell summit. We then followed flagging through the snow to Gambier Summit. Lovely views to the North west from this summit and took about 15 minutes one way from Liddel.
Looking at the route. Look at the bottom of the report for the Fat Maps link
Another look at it
View of Mount Killam and Liddell/Gambier from the ferry
Viewpoint at Killam. Incredible
Almost at the summit of Liddell
Heading down Gambier to Gambier Lake looked simple on the maps and a trail is shown in OSM going down here. This is very much an abandoned old trail that is specially heinous from 900m to 750m. Super deep and unsupportive snow with immature trees poking eyes out. We encountered no trail markings at all down this. What was expecting to be 1.5 hours down to the lake ended up being just under 4 hours. We made it to Gambier Lake and decided to camp the night there instead of pushing on to Lost Lake and it ended up with 17 km and 1400m elevation gain for the day. Felt much more difficult than those stats indicate and it was probably due to the overnight packs (ultralight gear helped), the hot temperatures (24C), and the horrible terrain down to the lake.
Heading down the death zone
Incredible reflections and campsite
Our tents. Sets up with hiking poles. I took a 26L pack and it all fit. 18 pounds total pack weight with food and water. So nice.
Sunday morning we woke up and left camp around 630 AM. We headed to Lost Lake through decent trails with a lot of blow downs. After getting to Lost Lake, we bushwhacked up to Burt's Bluff and quickly stumbled upon a flagged and well defined foot bed to just below Burts Bluff. Dropped the packs and headed on up and down. Spent 30 minutes filtering water from a pond only to find a fast moving spring / creek at 300m
. We headed down to the water at Brigade Bay before heading up to Artaban. Got to the summit before noon and took an afternoon siesta.
Artaban Summit. Last of the weekend
The rest of the day would consist of ~18 km of logging roads all the way back from the east of the island to the west at New Brighton. Super awesome logging roads with nice moss and old growth sightings along the way. Highly recommend this way back but it was sure tiring and another ~500m elevation gain throughout it. Day 2 ended up being 1350m elevation gain and 30 km. We got back before 4:30 PM to catch the ferry back to the coast only to find it full and missed the connection. Long day but fun weekend with Nick before he moved to Terrace for the summer. This area is phenomenal and I hope this route becomes an official trail. AKA the Gambier Ridge Trail or something more fun? I spent quite the amount of days researching this one with the help from many baggers such as Jan and Tim who helped explore these routes before me, and all I did was put them together on a map and complete the puzzle. Feel free to watch the video for more visuals!
steep logging roads on the way back. this was the worst condition of the road we saw. The rest was very runnable.