Mike and Z climb Lake Peak (12,409') to learn the route and find camping areas for Mike's acclimatization for Aconcagua. This is my new favorite climb near ABQ, it's short and high altitude, and it has spectacular views. On January 10, 2009 we will be coming back here for a three day weekend so that I can climb to 12,400 for three days in a row. And it looks like I'll be able to sleep at over 11,900 feet for each of those nights. This should also help me get adjusted to the cold as nighttime lows in this basin can get as low as -10 F in January. The approach to this peak is straightforward and easy to find. It also doesn't doddle on gaining altitude as there is virtually no switch backing. There is some pretty exposed Class 4 scrambling in a few spots along the backbone, however, and climbing in the winter is going to require extreme caution and hardware I wasn't planning for. We will likely need a short-rope and some rock and ice pro to stay on the backbone and we probably won't be able to go lower and traverse because of Avy danger on both sides of the ridge. I cruised up this peak, despite the technical challenges at the final ridge. I'm really starting to feel confident in my altitude abilities. Now I just need to keep building my strength for carrying heavy loads.