The exceptional power scalability of Yb lasers has enabled the development of pulsed optical parametric amplifiers (OPA’s) operating at the short-wave edge of the mid-IR (MIR) with average powers beyond 10 W simultaneously providing peak powers in excess of 1 GW. Further wavelength extension into the longer-wave MIR is enabled by novel wide-bandgap non-oxide nonlinear crystals that can be pumped directly at 1 μm without detrimental one- and twophoton absorption of pump radiation. Eliminating the usual difference frequency generation step in producing MIR pulses above 5 μm could potentially increase the conversion efficiency of parametric down-conversion devices and enable a significant boost in the attainable average and peak power. Despite their utmost importance, material properties related to ultrafast laser-induced damage in nonlinear crystals are rarely investigated in the corresponding laser parameter range. In order to help unravel the complicated interplay of photorefractive effects, thermal lensing, and selffocusing/ defocusing affecting the beam quality and catastrophic breakdown threshold in MIR OPA’s, we present the nonlinear index of refraction at 1 μm of KTiOAsO<sub>4</sub>, LiGaS<sub>2</sub>, and BaGa<sub>4</sub>S<sub>7</sub>. The reported data provide crucial design parameters for the development of high-average-power MIR OPA’s. As examples, (i) a 100-kHz, 1.55/3.1 μm dual-beam OPA delivering multi-GW peak power in each beam and a total average power of 55 W and (ii) a 100-kHz, sub-100-fs, 1-μm-pumped OPA tunable in the 5.7-10.5-μm range are briefly presented.