Dennis Vallins on Nice One Masson (7a) on the Overhanging Walls.
A new crag and a series of new routes. It always seems surprising that the Peak District area 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.
This crag is almost completed with only a handful of routes awaiting to be finished and the crag polished off.
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, and a number lean in an impressive fashion landing you 5m from the point at which you started. Good holds on these routes abound but technical face climbs and finger cracks also provide the variety.
It can also stay dry in rain showers and even storms and the climber operating in the high 6s to low 7s will be well rewarded.
One visiting climber stated that Nice One Masson was "strictly four stars".