Distance: 10.5 km
Elevation gain: 700 m+View mapDownload GPS track
Rawson (or Sarrail) Ridge is a popular summer hike renowned for its views of Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes and the surrounding peaks. While the usual summer route heads directly up an avalanche slope and is thus perhaps not the best route in the winter, a less direct route up the spine of the ridge avoids most avalanche terrain.
To ascend the ridge via the route we took, snowshoe to Rawson Lake (the trail will be well packed), cross the lake near the outlet, then head roughly north, gently ascending the lower slopes of the ridge while heading towards the spine of the ridge. The forest is open and there is minimal bushwhacking. Once on the spine of the ridge, simply start heading up. While this area is likely not particularly prone to avalanches, the slope was definitely steep enough that I wouldn't want to be on it in high-risk conditions.
Views are limited as you ascend, but glimpses through thinning trees of Upper Kananaskis Lake and the Opal Range keep the motivation just high enough to continue breaking trail. Treeline is reached at about 2300 m; today the ridge had been largely blown free of snow from this point forward and we replaced our snowshoes with microspikes to continue. Just above 2400 m, reach the first of several high points granting panoramic views encompassing a surprising amount of the park. The true high point - perhaps 200 m distant at this point - is only a few meters higher than the first and required another slog through snow. As we had abandoned our snowshoes at treeline and were quite sick of breaking trail at this point, we elected to have lunch on the grassy slopes and people-watch the snowshoers at Rawson Lake, 400 m below, instead of continuing to the true end.