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 Arete. 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.