Dennis Vallins on Nice One Masson (7a) on the Overhanging Walls.
It always seems surprising that the Peak District should come up trumps with another crag and a vast array of impressive climbs.
Tucked away in the hills surrounding Matlock, Masson Lees came to prominence as a gift from one of the local climbers scouring around the countryside. What was discovered was an extremely impressive crag complete with an overhanging wall to rival any in the area together with a number of easier-angled walls awaiting development.
In late may of 2004 the crag had finally dried out and a group of intrepid climbers lay siege to the walls, littering them with an array of bolt-protected lines. The effort was immense with massive gardening sessions to clear the loose rock and in some case the use of Sika to solidify some hollow flakes and holds to ensure their longevity.
No effort was spared in cleaning the place up to ensure that the variety of climbs was completed with a number of easier-angled challenges on the opposing walls.
These routes are not short by any stretch of the imagination, with some having up to ten clips. A number lean in an impressive fashion and land you 5m from the point at which you started when lowering off. Good holds on these routes abound but technical face climbs and finger cracks also provide the variety.
Once dry parts of the crag can stay dry in rain showers although prolonged rain leads to seepage. For climbers looking for routes in the low 7s Masson Lees is perhaps unrivalled in the Peak District.