Updated: Jul 31, 2019
All I wanted for my birthday this year was to see a frozen glacier waterfall - and boy, did K-Country ever deliver!
We arrived at the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge early on the weekend, and even though our room wasn't ready for check-in yet, we were able to stow our bags and made our way over to the trails to hunt for frozen waterfalls. We chose Troll Falls as it was about a 15-20 minute walk from the lodge or a 3-5 minute drive to the trail start. Troll Falls is an easy hike and takes only 45 minutes - 1.5 hours round trip (depending on how fast you tend to walk, and how often you want to take breaks, etc.). Seeing the waterfall in the summer is a beautiful treat, but seeing that same gorgeous waterfall frozen in time during the winter in white and blue - it's a completely different and wonderful experience.
Layers Are Your Best Friends
It was about -17°C when we arrived to the trail head (and around -25°C with windchill). I received a few texts from friends wishing me a happy birthday, followed by "are you nuts to be outdoors? Go inside and eat cake instead!"; but I was committed and there was no turning back! Besides, I had 7 layers on and spent about twenty minutes strapping winter boots onto my dog - there was no going back - only onwards!
Some people may be tempted to buy a full-length, down-filled jacket for a winter hike, and it may work for some, but I personally find that wearing a few more layers with a shorter jacket is less cumbersome. And once you start up the incline, you'd be glad you can peel a few layers off or when the wind picks up near top, you can add a few more layers on.
This is what I typically wear on a winter trek:
2) Tank top
12) A fun toque (my favorite winter accessory!)
13) Gloves or mitts
Now you're good to go!
Crampons Are Also Your Best Friends
Ice cleats or crampons and/or ice-poles are a must for a winter mountain hike. I do not enjoy slipping and falling - at all. If you don't have a pair at home, you can rent a pair from the Outfitters at the Kananaskis Mountain Lodge for $12 for the full day (return by 6pm). Without the crampons, the trek to the top of the waterfall and getting the amazing view from behind it would not have been possible....for me. I saw others do it with some struggling. But better safe than sorry!