Lesson learned here: free soloing when sweaty may not be conducive to longevity.
Pride (5.4) and Prejudice (5.5) are adjacent routes on an upstream-facing wall of the Dihedrals crag, just a few steps away from Beginner's Chimney
, which is a reasonable and convenient descent route. Each climbs about 60 vertical feet and is essentially a straight line up the cliff. The section of cliff to the right of Pride and Prejudice is Mossy Wall, where there are several 5.4-5.8 options.
Pride climbs a prominent crack. Prejudice climbs flakes and a shallow dihedral.
Although most people toprope the routes even though they are suitable for trad climbing, I submit this page in the interest of climbing them unroped
, in which case these routes change from good beginners' climbs and fun but easy intermediate ones to fairly challenging ones, each for reasons to be detailed in the following section.
Pride Prejudice Pride lower Prejudice lower
Remember that this information pertains mainly to unroped climbing! If you're toproping these routes, there's little to say but to look at the route, check your gear, and start climbing.
Leaving the issues of exposure higher up aside, I think the route is at its technical hardest at the very beginning. Starting is hard, even on a rope, for two reasons-- the rock at the beginning is so steep and smooth that even in rock shoes, you will find yourself sliding down; and there is a small overhang to negotiate, not really that bad if one is starting from a good purchase, but hard in this case because one isn't. So if fun rather than following the route steadfastly is your primary objective, try getting on the crack that defines the middle and upper parts of the route by approaching from some ramps on the left side. The rock is still smooth and there are still some awkward stretches, but it's easier than the other way, especially if you aren't roped up.
Then there is a tricky spot, tricky without the confidence a rope provides, that is, around the middle (see the boxed area in the photo in this section). There, the wall closes in on the right, prohibiting useful arm movement and forcing one to lean left. The face on the left lacks really good holds, though, and it is a tough stretch, with plenty of serious risk since the exposure here is quite significant, for an unroped climber to reach the next good holds above. On two tries so far, I have not gotten past this point. I have a wife and two young children, and I decided this route wasn't worth risking my life for, so I downclimbed, which was tricky in itself. Next time, I will free solo with chalk, hoping that helps, or use a rope. I'm determined to do it unroped, though. Hopefully, this is not a case of "pride goeth before a fall."
The upper section looks easier, but viewed from above, it is still nearly vertical, so do use caution and remember that a 5.4 can kill just as a 5.12 can.
For the lower part of the route, climb the flakes and cracks on the face, keeping left of a small overhang that forms what is almost a very shallow cave. Free soloists will find themselves lying back and quite exposed here and may not go for it. In that case, climb up Beginner's Chimney to the overhang and traverse left into the middle section of Prejudice. This has its tricky spots and is not easy, but it is easier than the traditional start on the route. If you're out for fun and don't care too much if you follow exact routes, this is a good option.
The upper part of the route is not too hard for the most part when doing it unroped. The hardest move, a good stretch with serious exposure, is right below the top. The way up is obvious. There is a lot of exposure. The hard part I mentioned is where I learned my little lesson about the dangers of sweating while free soloing; I stuck my knee onto a spot and started pulling myself up, and then I slipped. Luckily, I felt the slip right away and had good handholds. Otherwise, I might have become a statistic. So maybe it would be better to free solo this route, and most others, I guess, when it isn't hot outside.