Mt. Index is a Cascade Range classic. The views of the mountain from HWY 2 are awesome and seen by many each year. There are three peaks to the legendary summit ridge, commonly known as the North, Middle and Main Peak. Even though the approach is fairly close to civilization, not too many folks climb the mountain in any given season. The easiest route on the main peak is somewhat "non-technical" and is approached from the west and a moderate scree/snow climb doable in a day for a determined and fit hiker.
However, the standard route uses the east and southeast sides. See the Hourglass Gully route page.
The Middle and North peaks are only accessible via committing technical climbs with the easiest being a Grade III, 5.7 on vertical dirt, somewhat rotten rock, and thick brush in areas on the North Face of the North Peak.
A little piece of Cascades Trivia:
Famous Pacific Northwest helicopter pilot Tony Reece was married on Mt. Index's south slope/ridge. See seventh post in this thread.
From I-5 in Western Washington, drive east on HWY 2 from Everett through Monroe, Sultan, Startup and Gold Bar. Approximatly 12.8 Miles East of Sultan turn Right onto the road marked "Mt. Index Road". If you cross the old bridge across the Skykomish River, you've gone a little too far.
The trailhead is approximately 1/4-mile up the Mt. Index Road; stay to the right at the Y.
To get to the west side follow the same directions except you exit HWY 2 on Forest Service Road #62 (approximatly 6 miles east of Gold Bar and maybe one mile west of the bridge over the Skykomish. Stay to the left at the first Y then to the right at the 2nd Y (if you go left at the second Y you'll find yourself at the Mt. Persis Trailhead). Drive until you reach the large washout at the head of Proctor Creek. This is a brushy route that traverses over or near "Persindex" (Pk 5360+). Expect a long day.
NW Forest Parking Pass Required for the trailhead.
Usually climbed from late April through Early October. Can be a memorable winter climb if conditions are stable.
Camping allowed near but not on the shores of Lake Serene which is 2200' and 3.6 miles from the trailhead, near the approach to the N. Ridge of the N. Peak route.