Great shots. I've been considering a summit of Index main peak this month, is this doable without climbing gear this time of year? Reading through Beckey's Cascade Alpine Guide it appears so but would love to hear from someone who's done it.
I would say a rope would be good to have for rappelling through trees on that lower section of ridge just above the saddle where it's very steep (near vertical tree climbing). Other than that if you are comfortable soloing on 50/55 degree snow/neve (in the upper gully) you can just stash the rope just above that lower section of ridge and simply use it to rappel on the way down. I was an idiot and carried the rope the whole way up to the summit haha. We only used it to make one rappel back to our tent on the ridge.
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