Apollo Lift-off – Climbing and exploring on Apollo and Luna Peaks, Cederberg

words by ANT HALL

The Cederberg is full of special places, splashed liberally with deep orange, sky blue, the wild wind (and the occasional leopard), and it evokes a Tolkienesque type of imagination in anyone willing to explore.

Recent fires and closures have prompted many of us to stray from the trade areas like the Wolfberg Cracks and Tafelberg, and Apollo Peak is one new gem that has captured my imagination in recent years. Apollo stands at the far left end of the Kromriver valley, with Luna Peak tucked out of sight behind it. The Apollo East Turret appears as a striking ‘shark’s tooth’ feature from afar.

The first climbing can be traced to 1928, by Colonel R. Hallack, followed by Frank Berrisford and Servie le Roux in 1935, and then, in 1937, Le Roux returned with Bert Berrisford, Brian Quail and Joan Fothergill (who later married Quail). Remember that in 1928, the peak had no name, expeditions typically lasted a fortnight, and it was the early days of ‘motor-neering’, often supported by herdsmen and their donkeys ferrying camp along the various shalebands. The MCSA journals from those years make fascinating reading. After exhaustive sleuthing, I can make a ‘good’ but not entirely conclusive guess at the locations of the early (and particularly the Hallack) original routes.

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