Aiguille de l'Index, Southeast Arête


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1 day

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2 climbers per guide

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Combine with:
Mani Puliti & Nez Rouge

Typical climbing on the Index

The Aiguille de l'Index is a fine rock summit in the Aiguilles Rouges. While there are many routes on this peak, by far the most popular, and also one of the best, is the Southeast Arête. What makes this route so good is its position and views. Facing south, the whole of the Mont Blanc chain rests just over your shoulder, and on belays, it is all too easy to get "lost" in the maze of spires and glaciers. But the route on the Index is also on a sharp ridge, and the exposure and "airyness" of the climb also draw our attention. Finally the summit is a very well-defined point and the very steep rappel descent only emphasizes this.

This route is of moderate difficulty, with rock climbing to about 5.7 (French 5a) at its hardest. The crux comes early, on the first pitch, but there are a few moves sprinkled here and there for fun. The climb is about 6 or 7 pitches in length, which makes it a good choice for a relatively relaxed day on the hill. Because the descent is via rappel on the north side of the peak, we need to carry our hiking shoes and extra clothing over the top in small day packs.

The Index is very easily accessible from the Flegere lift system and it is only about a 30 minute walk from the top lift to the base of the route. In normal summer conditions there is no snow, so the approach can be done in wakling shoes.

Mont Blanc and the Aiguille de l'Index
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The Index and the Chamoinx Aiguilles


The Index is a rock climb on a small but sharp peak. The main difficulties are technical in nature but not overly taxing by today's standards. The climbing is to about 5.7 (French 5a) in difficulty. There is one long and exposed rappel on the descent.

Access to the route is very easy from the Flegere lift system and not strenuous.


This is a route for rock climbers who are comfortable following rock at 5.6 to 5.7 (French 4c-5a)in difficulty. Rappeling and belaying experience is needed.


Normally we do The Index as a day climb from Chamonix, as access from the lift is so quick. But it is also possible to do another route besides the Index on the same day if you are quick and get and early start. A good choice is the Nez Rouge or Mani Puliti, described here.

Emery on the Index
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Kathy Cosley & Mark Houston
UIAGM Internationally Licensed Mountain Guides

AMGA Certified • SNGM members
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