Pete Zabrok, Erik Eriksson and Neil Chelton

Ontario climber Pete Zabrok made the second ascent of Winds of Change on El Capitan with Neil Chelton and Erik Mckinley Eriksson earlier this season. They had a cam-crushing scary moment high on the climb.

The previously unrepeated route was first climbed by Richard Jensen goes at VI 5.10 A5, it had been attempted a few times over the years.

Jensen’s first ascent was a 32-day solo, one of the hardest solo first ascents on El Cap.

Pictured in the photo above, Zabrok and team are on The Pinnacle of Hammerdom, which Zabrok said is a “spooky place.” Zabrok reported on Sept. 27 that the pinnacle moved and crushed two of their cams.

“Three days ago during our morning coffee, we were showered with about a minute of fine sand falling from above,” said Zabrok.

“This is what happened a week before Waterfall Route fell off with Ryan Sheridan and Patrick Mcredmond, and what also happened to Matt Lambert and Chris Gibson on Zenyatta Mondatta just before it fell off.”

The entire 60-metre Pinnacle of Hammerdom is loose and expanding. “We gotta get outa here,” Zabrok said nervously.

“We had a cam anchor under the roof. After the Junk Show was hauled, the crack closed up and ate two of our Camalots. It gets worse.

“Chelton led the next pitch up the left side in the heat of the afternoon, placing #3 and #4 Camalots for pro. A few hours later when the rock had cooled, the crack had closed up so tight when I went to clean it, we could barely extract the cams. That’s like an inch of expando in only a couple hours.

“We are still hanging on the pinnacle, but our bolts are on the – we hope – solid wall above.” They topped out on Sept. 29.

The route had a convoluted second ascent that was never considered a complete second ascent. In 1995 and 1996, Grega Lajen and Iztok Mihev climbed the first half and descended. They then rappelled in from the top and climbed the second half.

This was the 61st different El Cap route for Zabrok. Not counting base and summit bivies, 767 nights on the side of El Cap.

Eriksson leads to Thanksgiving Ledge while Chelton belays Photo Pete Zabrok

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