Elevation: 1,283 ft
GPS: 47.825, -121.562 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 1,883,731 total · 10,447/month
Shared By: Lizzy Trower on Jan 26, 2006 · Updates
Admins: Scott Coldiron, Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick, Z Winters
Access Issue: The Novel Coronavirus & 2020 Seasonal Raptor Closure Details


                          About the novel coronavirus and Index residents. (3/20/2020)
Residents of Index are very concerned about visitors spreading the virus to them. So please be considerate by taking some serious precautions such as

  •  Be extra safe to greatly reduce the chance of needing a rescue. (Choose partner carefully, just TR routes. Triple-check setups...)
  •  Do not interact with the people in town or on a trail. (Choose an obscure crag & route. Drive carefully through town.)
  •  In case the above two precautions fail or you come across someone on a trail or crag, bring a facemask and gloves to wear to prevent spreading the virus from your breath or hands. In lieu of a facemask, a bandana or scarf over the nose and mouth can also reduce the spread of fine droplets from your nose and mouth when you speak. Also, try to keep the 6-foot recommended distance from other people.  
 Please treat their concerns with respect while enjoying the beautiful outdoors. Thank you.

Roughly midway between Seattle and Leavenworth lurks the sweeping, fine-grained granite of Index.

The climbing consists of a collection of walls and crags rising out of the forested hillside around the small town of Index. Various granite boulders also lie clustered here and there in the forest and along the Skykomish river.
What a view. (Endless Skies, Duck Wall) Photo: Ryan Hoover/Stamati Anagnostou
The granite provides a wide variety of routes, many of them within 15-min of parking. Other than its rugged mountain and river scenery, Index is also known for the heavy sounds of the trains that pass through as well as the quaint little town setting with its old mining and quarrying history.

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. In addition to cracks, there are lots of face climbs and a few friction slabs.

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).
Jack Andrew on the alternate pitch 3 of DGS (5.9) at the Upper Town Wall. Photo credit Daniel Jeffery.

Weatherwise, summer conditions are often ideal, with cool shady spots for midday climbing, though some walls will bake in the midday. Winters are generally wet, the area being wetter on average than regions east of the Cascades. But, as most cliffs are largely south-facing and the elevation relatively low, winter can have some very nice, though somewhat short, climbing days.

As the rock angle tends to be slightly less than vertical, and many cliffs top-off onto a sloping hillside, most routes get wet in a rain, with many continuing to seep for a few days after a heavy period of rain. However, a few steep routes stay dry in the rain. Most of these are on or near the Cheeks at the Upper Town Wall.

The small mountain town of Index, just below the cliffs on the Skykomish River, is a picturesque place to relax, hanging out near the river, park, or general store. When open, check out the displays in the historical society, just across from the general store.

For the latest conditions and happenings at Index, check out the "Climb Index!" Facebook group.

Angela Wang moving to the anchor, end of p3 on Walking Legend (Lower Lump Area)

Getting There

From the west, drive east on Highway 2. Several miles past Goldbar, soon after crossing the bridge over the Skykomish, turn left onto Index-Galena Road.
Derek on the final moves of the slab on And Say (Lookout Point area)

From the east, drive over Steven's Pass, about 13 miles past Skykomish. Turn right on Index-Galena Road.

After about a mile and a sharp S-curve that goes 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 and Diamond Area you'll want to park somewhere around here. More details of parking below.

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.

For some of the bouldering, you may need to drive further west after going by the Lower Town Wall, or continue driving further east along the Index Galena Road.

Parking and Camping

For the Lower Town Wall, Inner Walls, Side Walls, Mid Walls, and Upper Town Wall, park in the large lot south of town, just below the LTW. You might also be able to find a place to park at the camping location, which is a few hundred yards closer to town.
Closing in on the anchors on Plum Pudding (5.9).
For the Lower Lump, park at a pull-out along the road, just across from the Wart area of the Lower Lump, about a hundred yards south of the LTW lot.

For the Diamond and Lookout Point areas, you can often find parking in town. But please be very respectful of the residents! Drive slowly. Obey stop signs and parking signs. Do not block private or public facilities. Do not be loud, especially at early or late hours. The residents have already voiced concerns about excessive parking and traffic.

If the available spots in town are filled, consider parking at the parking lot for the Heybrook-Ridge trailhead, just over the bridge and off the Index-Galena Rd. Parking here adds only about 3 minutes of walking as compared to parking near the school. (The gate may be closed early in the morning, but if you came that early, you'd find spots in town.)

Free 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. This area has become known as the Wagonwheel.

Moderate Routes

Jeff Matsushita leading Senior Citizens in Space (5.8).
Index has a reputation for hard routes. But it also has plenty of moderates routes under 5.10. Even better: it has potential for many more -- just find a possible line and start cleaning off your own> (If new to cleaning-developing, you might ask an experienced person for suggestions.) If you use the "Best climbs for YOU in this area" tool below (blue box called "You & This Area"), 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 fun moderate first pitches. Some of these include
The crux of Freight Night (5.8+).
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.
And Say (left variation) 5.8+

Upper Town Wall:
Davis-Holland 5.9.

Inner Walls:
Even Steven 5.8.


If you'd like to set up some topropes without having to lead an adjacent route,
Starting up Hag Crag Crack (5.6). consider these areas:

1) Private Idaho.

2) Hag Crag.

3) Upper Wall Lower Cliffs (various spots).

4) Upper Wall, Lower Cheeks.

Grandeur Buttress at the Inner Walls, The Wart at the Lower Lump, 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.

Route development and maintenance

Due to the very moist and moderate weather conditions for much of the year, routes that have not been sufficiently cleaned or rarely get climbed tend to re-foliate over a period of 1-2 years. Thus, some routes get recleaned every year or two with a dirt-scraping tool and brush. If you see a route in need of recleaning, please take the initiative and reclean it. If you decide to clean an entirely new line, consider that the extra effort to make it completely foliage-free may pay off in the long run. An excellent article about the methods used and general ideas behind cleaning areas like Index is here:

690 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: Index Change
Type:  to 
Sort by:   then:

Classic Climbing Routes at Index

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Senior Citizens in Space
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Princely Ambitions
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Toxic Shock
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Trad 3 pitches
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b A0
Lovin' Arms
Trad, Aid 3 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Davis-Holland Route
Trad 3 pitches
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Slow Children
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
An Act of Strange Boar
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Thin Fingers
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Heaven's Gate
Trad, Sport 4 pitches
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Even Steven
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
Japanese Gardens
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Iron Horse
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Senior Citizens in Space Lookout Point Area > Private Idaho
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Princely Ambitions Lower Town Wall > Main Wall, left side
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 2 pitches
Godzilla Lower Town Wall > Main Wall, left side
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Toxic Shock Inner Walls > Toxic - Tang Area
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Rattletale Lookout Point Area > Rattletale Wall
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 3 pitches
Lovin' Arms Upper Town Wall > Central Wall Area
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b A0 Trad, Aid 3 pitches
Davis-Holland Route Upper Town Wall > Central Wall Area
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad 3 pitches
Slow Children Lower Town Wall > Main Wall, left side
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad
Zoom Country Area > Country
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad
An Act of Strange Boar Lookout Point Area > Lookout Point
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad
Thin Fingers Lower Town Wall > Narrow Arrow & furthe…
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad
Heaven's Gate Upper Town Wall > Dana's Arch Area
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad, Sport 4 pitches
Even Steven Inner Walls > Toxic - Tang Area
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad
Japanese Gardens Lower Town Wall > Main Wall, left side
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Trad
Iron Horse Lower Town Wall > Main Wall, left side
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Trad
More Classic Climbs in Index »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season