Princely Ambitions

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 47.81785°N / 121.57326°W
Additional Information Route Type: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Time Required: Less than two hours
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: 5.9 (YDS)
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 2
Sign the Climber's Log


Princely Ambitions is another one of those "Index 5.9" routes that feels like a 5.10 anywhere else. It may not be quite as popular as the ultra classic Godzilla, but it is a favorite of many Index climbers and is an awesome route that offers a wide variety of climbing techniques. Located on the Lower Index Town Wall, it is merely seconds away from the parking area and starts right off the trail. To get here, take Highway 2 east to Monroe and continue an additional 20 miles to the bridge crossing of the South Fork Skykomish River. Just after this bridge turn left onto the Index-Galena Road. Head on this road about a mile and turn left (north) onto 5th Street crossing another bridge over the Main Fork Skykomish River entering the small town of Index. After the bridge, take the second left (west) onto Index Avenue and continue a quarter mile to the roads end and take another left (south) onto 2nd Avenue. You will pass by the haunted Bush House which is currently undergoing a remodeling project. After one block where the road ends at the river, take a right (west) onto Avenue A and go 0.6 miles until you reach small parking area off to the right for the Lower Town Wall just before the road parallels the train tracks. Park here and walk over the tracks and follow the trail at the base of the wall for maybe 1-2 minutes until you arrive at the base of the route. It is just past the scramble to head up Rogers Corner and before the Japanese Gardens 5.11+ route.

Route Description

Pitch 1

From the base of the route, rack up (see gear requirements below) and climb up the large and easy flake (4th class) about 20 feet veering to the left. Once atop the big flake (large stance) you will see a single bolt that can be used to protect the first crux, located a few feet above. Climb up the slab with little footholds aiming up and slightly to the right towards the series of smaller flakes trending to the right. Getting your feet onto the start of the first flake is one of the crux moves. Once on the small flake, climb it with good hands and feet until it ends where you then have to mantle up onto a 4 inch ledge and cut back to the left. This is the second crux. Once on the ledge, follow it left to the open book and climb the dihedral up about 40 more feet (good holds) to its end where you top out on a large ledge. The bolted anchor is on this ledge and views of North Index are stunning from here. Belay from here as a 70 meter rope is not long enough to toprope.

Princely Ambitions Route
Rappelling pitch 1 of Princely Ambitions after we climbed it. The red dashed line shows the route location. The red "X" shoes the location of the lone bolt and the big circle at the top shows the location of the double bolted anchor
Climbing the first right trending small flake. Notice the ledge and cut back left

Pitch 2

From the large ledge atop the first pitch, climb the big flake just left of the anchor and head up the right facing dihedral and good crack for about 15 feet. Above this there is a bulging rock you must climb over and then finish the pitch on a dirty, wide crack using a small arete on its left side for feet. This wide crack fits a #4 camelot nicely. Top out above this big crack to the bolted anchor.

Essential Gear

This climb weaves back and forth so to reduce rope drag, be sure to have lots of slings. 

Bring two sets of cams from 0.3" - 2" and one #3. Some small, flexible stuff is also needed for the leftward traverse. You will need a #4 cam if you are doing the second pitch.

The first pitch can be done with a 70 meter rope however on your rappel, you will only reach the top of the first easy flake just below the bolt at the bottom. You will have to down-climb 15 feet of Class 4 to the ground. The second pitch is much shorter and can be done with one 60 meter rope easily. I brought two 60 meter ropes and made a double rope rappel down the first pitch to avoid down-climbing. If you only have one rope tie knots in the ends.

External Links

Princely Ambitions on MountainProject

Index Weather Forecast

Bush House Inn

Town of Index

Current status of the Index Climbing Area - WA Climbers Coalition



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.