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** Bouldering at Index 
Country Area, The 
Diamond Area, The 
Inner Walls 
Lookout Point Area 
Lower Lump Area 
Lower Town Wall 
Middle Town Walls 
Side Walls, The 
Upper Town Wall 
Upper Wall Lower Cliffs 

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Index  


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Location: 47.8202, -121.556 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 543,479
Administrators: Peter Franzen, Jon Nelson, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Lizzy Trower on Jan 26, 2006
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You & This Area
Best routes for YOU in this area
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This is Index!

Description 

For steep, accessible granite, Index is the best spot in Washington. It also has tremendous variety, with cracks, knobs, friction slabs, bucket hauls, and thin edging. The granite is fine-grained, and thus much easier on the hands than that of Leavenworth and other areas.

Historically a place mainly for crack aid-climbing, Index now has more free lines than aid. Through the 80s, most of the free lines were trad, but sport climbing accelerated in the 90s, and now Index has nearly as much sport as trad. Boulderers also rave about the quality of the bouldering here.

The routes range from shorter single-pitch routes to long 500'-high walls. Index is known for its hard climbing, but still has many climbs of 5.9 and lower. And a lot of the harder climbs have more moderate first pitches (see below for a partial list).

Although wetter on average than regions east of the Cascades, some steep routes stay dry in the rain. Moreover, summer conditions are often ideal, with cool shady spots for midday climbing. As most cliffs are partly south-facing, one can also climb here in winter.

The small mountain town of Index, just below the cliffs on the Skykomish River, provides a picturesque place to relax and enjoy other activities as well.


Getting There 

Drive east on Highway 2. Several miles past Goldbar, soon after crossing the bridge over the Skykomish, turn left onto the road that leads to Index. After going under the railroad, turn left on the arch-style bridge over the North Fork of the Skykomish. Go straight past the general store and town park to the T intersection at the second stop sign. For the Lookout Point Area, park somewhere around here in town.

For the other walls, go left past the Bush House, over the tracks straight through town, taking a sharp left toward the river, then a right where the road hits a T-intersection and stop sign. Continue along the shaded road, which parallels the river. About a hundred yards or so past the camping spot is the Lower Town Wall parking lot on the right. In another hundred yards or so is a pull-off on the left for the Lower Lump.


Camping 

Free and scenic camping exists just 100 yards or so towards town from the Lower Wall parking area. One can camp near the river or near their car.


Moderate Routes 

Though having a reputation for hard routes, Index has plenty of moderates routes under 5.10. If you use the "Best routes for YOU in this area" tool on the left side of this page, you can find over 60 full-length moderate routes. More exist in published guidebooks.

But in addition, quite a few of the harder multi-pitch routes have moderate first pitches. Some of these include

Lower Wall:
Sagittarius 5.9+.
Japanese Gardens (to 1st anchor) 5.9+.
Tatoosh (original finish) 5.9.

Lookout Point Area:
Rattletale 5.9.
House of the Seventh Bobcat 5.9.
Bowling to Biscuits 5.9.

Upper Town Wall:
Davis-Holland 5.9.

Inner Walls:
Even Steven 5.8.


Toproping 

If you'd like to set up some topropes without having to lead an adjacent route, consider these areas:

1) Private Idaho.

2) Upper Wall Lower Cliffs.

3) Upper Wall, Lower Cheeks.

Grandeur Buttress at the Inner Walls and Garden Rock at the Side Walls also have a few possibilities. To find all labeled topropes, use the tool at left, and instead of "Show all route types", select "Toprope". You'll probably find other unlabeled topropes as well.


328 Total Routes


['4 Stars',63],['3 Stars',162],['2 Stars',67],['1 Star',24],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',1],['5.7',13],['5.8',14],['5.9',36],['5.10',85],['5.11',110],['5.12',47],['5.13',5],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',4],['V2-3',6],['V4-5',1],['V6-7',3],['V8-9',2],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',2],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Index :
Pisces   5.6 4c 14 V S 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 65'   Lower Town Wall : Great Northern Slab
Aires   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Trad, 5 pitches, 250'   Lower Town Wall : Great Northern Slab
Godzilla   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch   Lower Town Wall : Main Wall, left side
Princely Ambitions   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Trad, 2 pitches   Lower Town Wall : Main Wall, left side
Toxic Shock   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch   Inner Walls : Notch, cave side (SW)
Breakfast of Champions   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 40'   Lower Town Wall : Great Northern Slab
Sagittarius   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   Lower Town Wall : Main Wall, left side
Rattletale   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ E2 5b     Trad, 3 pitches   Lookout Point Area : Rattletale Wall
Lovin' Arms   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII E2 5b     Trad, 3 pitches   Upper Town Wall : Central Wall Area
Davis-Holland Route   5.10c 6b 20 VII E2 5b     Trad, 3 pitches, 400'   Upper Town Wall : Central Wall Area
Slow Children   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Lower Town Wall : Main Wall, left side
Thin Fingers   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 120'   Lower Town Wall : Narrow Arrow and further ri...
Angora Grotto   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 95'   The Country Area : The Country
Heaven's Gate   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c     Trad, Sport, 4 pitches   Upper Town Wall : Dana's Arch Area
Up'er Zipper   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c     Trad, Sport, 4 pitches, 300'   Upper Town Wall : The Beach
Gods Bones   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII E4 6a     Sport, 2 pitches, 150'   Upper Town Wall : The Black Sea
Echolocation   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Upper Town Wall : The Black Sea
Japanese Gardens   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 200'   Lower Town Wall : Main Wall, left side
Black Sea   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII E4 6a     Trad, Sport, 2 pitches, 250'   Upper Town Wall : The Black Sea
Dead Reckoning (aka the Terry-Michaels route)   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a     Trad, Sport, 2 pitches, 200'   Upper Town Wall : The Beach
Browse More Classics in Index

Featured Route For Index
Splitter hands on pitch 2.

Rattletale 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ E2 5b  WA : Index : ... : Rattletale Wall
This is one of Index's finest hand cracks and well worth the approach hike. Has three short, but athletic, pitches.P1: Start on some broken face cracks trending up and left to a nice right-facing corner. Crux is low in the corner. End at large ledge. P2: Prominent hand crack in a right-leaning, right-facing corner. Crack which starts as perfect hands and finishes as wide hands (or layback). P3: Deep corner slot, also right-facing, with two cracks. You can do a wide stem and jam the thinner, ...[more]   Browse More Classics in WA

Photos of Index Slideshow Add Photo
Mt. Index. <br />Photo by Blitzo.
Mt. Index.
Photo by Blitzo.
Scenic and fun climbing at Lookout Point (start of HITAGA route).
Scenic and fun climbing at Lookout Point (start of...
Mt. Index. <br />Photo by Blitzo.
Mt. Index.
Photo by Blitzo.
January 2013 sunshine finally
January 2013 sunshine finally
Upper town wall just before the sport wall from the trail
Upper town wall just before the sport wall from th...
Godzilla. <br />Photo by Blitzo.
Godzilla.
Photo by Blitzo.
The Golden Arch
The Golden Arch
The top of upper town wall looking across  to Mt.Index
The top of upper town wall looking across to Mt.I...
Abraxas
Abraxas
Upper Town wall
Upper Town wall
rainy day at index
rainy day at index
Walking the railroad tracks <br />
Walking the railroad tracks
Scrubbing routes at Index
Scrubbing routes at Index
Comments on Index Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jun 25, 2014
By jonah
Feb 9, 2006

Everybody should get Darryl Cramer's excellent guide to the area, Sky Valley Rock. But for a temporary guide if you can't find his, try: www.stanford.edu/~clint/index/
Not as user friendly, but gives you an idea of the area.

By Spanish John
Mar 21, 2006

This is probably one of the most underrated climbing areas around; I hope it stays that way. I learned to climb there; I hope the climbing and the town never change.

By Eric8
From: Framingham
Apr 15, 2008

Most locals think the town walls are better than the cookie.

By dscramer
Dec 30, 2008

The FA dates for routes in the 1980s in both the Smoot and Cummins guides are for the most part very inaccurate. For example, the FFA of Clay was after 1984 and Sonic Reducer was climbed well before 1984.

By Drewsky
Dec 31, 2008

Edit: I took the FA dates out of most of the routes I've added because I have no independent knowledge of when they were climbed. I'll stick to giving first hand info about routes I've done or have had experience with.

By Paul Shultz
From: Hudson, Ma
Mar 15, 2009

I climbed here on the way back to Bellingham from the Bugaboos. I didn't do to many routes but its a gorgeous setting and I'd love to go back!

By Mike Rowley
From: Boise, Idaho
Jan 21, 2011

Anyone have any information on EARLY spring climbing at Index? A buddy and I were thinking of heading up either late Jan or early Feb... What is weather typically like this time of year? Climbable? I appreciate any info!

By dscramer
Jan 21, 2011

Mike - I've climbed in a T-shirt and fully bundled up for winter conditions at Index this time of year. Usually it's pretty wet and not too cold. If the weather hasn't been clear for a week I would say it would not be worth the trip up from Smith unless you wanted to aid climb. You can free climb pretty quickly after the rains stop, it's just that your choice of routes is pretty limited.

By Kevin Volkening
Jun 30, 2011

Looking to do a mid summer trip (middle of July) and this looks to be a good cool option which isn't baking. Thoughts?

By geoff georges
From: Seattle, Wa.
Jun 25, 2013

in the suggestions for 1st pitch moderates Davis Holland being a 5.8 is off. Even if you are a solid 5.9 leader this is pretty challenging.
But some other moderates that are worth visiting:

Timberjack 5.8. *** I replaced the anchor here. Winky Dinky cliff
K dihedral 5.8 *** K Cliff
Plum Pudding 5.9 **** Middle wall ( recently cleaned 2012)
Hips and Valleys 5.8 *** Middle wall ( recently cleaned 2013)
Toxic Shock 5.9 **** Inner Wall
Lizard/ Taurus 5.8 *** Great northern slab
Rogers Corner 5.9 **** Lower wall
Princely Ambitions 5.9 **** 2P, Lower wall ( Skyvalley calls it 5.8)
Godzilla 5.9+ **** Lower wall
Quarry Crack 5.9 ** Lower wall
Morning Star 5.8 *** The Country wall
GM 5.9 **** 3P, The Country
Peanuts to serve you 5.9 **** Lookout Point
Battered Sandwich 5.9 *** Private Idaho
Wet Dream 5.9 *** Private Idaho
Magic Fern 5.9 ** Private Idaho

By Jon Nelson
Administrator
Jun 25, 2013

Nice list!

And you're right about DH pitch 1. Also Sag. is probably a 5.9+, so I updated the list.

By Chris Kalman
Sep 26, 2013

A little while ago, I posted my intent to publish a new edition of sky valley rock (New Edition of Sky Valley Rock is the forum title). I had been trying to get in touch with Darryl for most of the summer, and it was fortuitous that I was able to through that post.

After receiving his go-ahead to publish a new guide, I recontacted Wolverine - who was originally interested in the guide - only to find that they had committed to other books, and now no longer had the financial resources to publish this year. But as a happy medium, they directed me to www.rakkup.com/, a Seattle based company putting out the only climbing guidebooks in the world currently downloadable as a smartphone app.

I've decided to team with them to work on getting the download released by next summer. For those not familiar with the product, I'd encourage contacting Rob or Todd (from the website above), or possibly downloading Exit 38, or 32, etc. But in brief, you download the app for a fixed amount of time: (2 months, one year subscription, etc), for a pretty nominal amount of money. In return, you have gps guided navigation (does not require cell signal to function) to anywhere at Index you want to go (Ever wonder where wall of 10,000 insects is? How to get to the Diamond? where an Act of Strange Boar is located? Etc). Once there, you can click on a variety of classic, distinguishing lines for the area, and get beta on them, as well as Rakkup's new "Belay View" which shows a detailed photo of the first 20 feet or so of the climb. This is one of the major advantages of the app, as you can have really as many beta photos as you would like, whereas a print book is limited in that regard.

My main interest is still to release an updated print guide that focuses on aesthetics, first ascentionists profiles, interesting blurbs about history, full-page spreads on some special routes, and basically doubles as a coffee table book. A big advantage of starting with Rakkup is that for many people, they won't have to wait as long as they would have to for the print guide to come out to get good beta on Index routes. The other advantage is that all the work done for Rakkup will be directly exportable from their software into the Adobe publishing suite used to create modern style guides.

I encourage anybody with good beta, or questions, to message me on this website. I can definitely use all the help I can get! Just today, I found my trusty and well-loved copy of Sky valley rock insufficient to find many routes at Lookout Point's walls, and the Diamond Wall area; as well as discrepancies between route and wall names between SVR and mountainproject.com. So I really have my work cut out for me!

Thanks ahead of time for the support! While I cannot give definite ETA's of the new books, Rakkup and I hope to start releasing the Index download around May - and I hope to be printing and publishing about this time next year. Wish me luck!

-Chris

By Sean C
Jun 25, 2014

Coming from Arizona I had heard great things about the climbing at Index so we decided to go check it out. The climbing was awesome, and having camping right there made it even better. The over all experience here was nothing I've ever run into though, and not in a good way. I will say the majority of the people we talked to here were friendly, but we had multiple instances of people being complete jerks to us or witnessing arguments between other climbers for what seemed to be little to no reasons at all. A little disconcerting but nothing to keep us from coming back. However, after having a couple brand new cams stolen out of my backpack at the base of a climb I will say I'm probably not going to return to the area. I had heard Index was a little rough around the edges but this is just wrong. Unfortunate because this area has some great climbing. Just wanted to give a heads up to others that these are some of the things you may encounter at Index... even after only being there for a couple days.

Sean

By Jon Nelson
Administrator
Jun 25, 2014

Oh geez Sean, that sounds really bad. Sorry to hear it. And I wish there was some way you could get the cams back.

I haven't heard about Index being 'rough around the edges', just a little different. There were the squatters camped out indefinitely across from the parking lot for awhile, and Andy DeKlerk mentioned some strange things in the woods awhile back, but I haven't experienced anything rough or impolite about the climbers.

But it certainly wouldn't hurt for all of us to be extra-welcoming to visitors from afar.