Chief Joseph Mountain Climber's Log

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Howarjos002 - Mar 27, 2019 11:54 pm Date Climbed: Aug 11, 2018

Chief Joseph mountain from the Marina 8/11/18

My sister and I hiked up to the first (and lowest) of the peaks on chief joseph mountain. After an early start from the marina trailhead, we followed a mix of the chief Joseph trail and marina trail up to about 6,400 feet. From there, we followed a faint path that we thought would take us up the south side of the mountain. We were soon bushwhacking up the mountain in relatively difficult conditions. Once you break the timberline, the view is incredible of Wallowa Lake, Mount Howard, and the various mountains around the eagle cap wilderness. We climbed a little more up the ridge and decided to turn back rather than trek another mile or so to the true summit. This is where we made our mistake, we went down a different way than we came up, which looked doable at first. Coming down an avalanche chute with rocks flying below us as we slid carefully down the mountain. After we got to the bottom of the chute, 3 1/2 hours had passed and we still had to find the trail below. Learn from our mistakes, do not try and climb up or down these avalanche chutes without a plan of attack and experience on where to go. These can be very dangerous with lots of loose rock. I would highly recommend a GPS tracker with other climber’s previous routes as reference. Plan to hike all day for this summit. Pack lots of water.


Cal - Jul 12, 2018 9:39 am Date Climbed: Feb 12, 2018

Top of meadow chute under cornice  Sucess!

Had good Spring conditions in February (bad conditions later in Spring). Climbed chute from top of meadow (not same as summer route). Cornice looked smaller then bigger as we got close, ducked right over rocks/loose powder to avoid punching through it. Returned via another chute just to the left of where we climbed which reconnected to ascent chute. Saw 9 goats cross on way down. No wind until ridge, then 30 mph? -20 on top. Beautiful sun but cold!


YEM - Jul 8, 2016 7:24 pm Date Climbed: Jul 6, 2016

Wallowa Traverse   Sucess!

Josh Lewis and I hiked the Chief Joseph Trail and took an obvious climbers path near 5300 ft up to a meadow basin at 7400 feet and camped. Then it was up a strip of trees following goat trails the next morning to the summit ridge. We encountered class 2 pretty much the entire way and avoided any loose gullies described in other route descriptions. Unfortunately, clouds obscured our view as we moved towards the Hurwal Divide.


nlahue - Sep 7, 2013 4:18 pm Date Climbed: Sep 2, 2013

Impromptu  Sucess!

Impromptu during labor day weekend while I was camped at thorpe creek to do Sacajawea. Got some advice from some other climbers. The first part involved a lot of bushwacking to get above tree line and then a lot of talus (my fault cutting to the west sooner would have avoided some of this). On the way up to the saddle was treated to a close encounter with a moutain goat. Once at the saddle the ridge to chief joseph is great and really fun. Got some rain on the top and not another soul in sight!

Brian Jenkins

Brian Jenkins - Sep 1, 2013 9:48 pm Date Climbed: Aug 31, 2013

Long Day  Sucess!

Another end of the summer hike with Jim. Left Portland after work, found all the campsites from Minam to Hurricane Creek full (Labor Day Weekend, what was I thinking?) so car camped at Hurricane Creek TH. Got up early and drove to the marina and started up at 6:41 am. The trail doesn't waste any time and we did the first 1000 feet of elevation in 37 minutes. Went a little high leaving the trail but whacked our way over to the base of the chute (easy to pick out) and found a climbers trail up. Spent lots of time weaving back and forth trying to find solid ground in the chute, spent a lot of time in the forest to the left. Topped out on the ridge and took a break. Great views from there. Stayed close to the ridge on the way to the summit. Took us about 5.5 hours, not sure how some of the others say it was only 4 hours but we did take a few breaks. From the summit, I went on to do Hurwal. Met up with Jim on the way back and we picked our way back down to the chute. Found the descent in the chute glorious. What took an hour and 1200 feet going up in the morning was 10-15 minutes down in one long scree ski. At the bottom of the chute we passed a doe and her fawn within feet as they watched. Got down before dark to the thump-thump of rap music from some festival below. An amazing onion ring bacon cheeseburger in Joseph!

Infected Mushroom

Infected Mushroom - Sep 18, 2011 9:52 pm

Spring break  Sucess!

Why did we leave the snowshoes behind?! A well deserved summit, followed mountain lion tracks on the summit ridge.


calebEOC - Sep 18, 2011 7:22 pm Date Climbed: Sep 17, 2011

Up from the Marina  Sucess!

The trail from the marina climbs quite aggressively, especially the chute that gains the upper ridge. Tried moving into the forest to the left of the chute to stay out of the scree, this helped at times but was mostly a poor idea as there is lots of underbrush to contend with. Nice views from summit, especially Sacajawea, Hurwal, and the Aneroid ridgeline.


nickkarl - Aug 4, 2008 4:10 pm Date Climbed: Aug 3, 2008

Thorp Creek  Sucess!

Climbed from the Hurwal Divide from Thorp Creek. Great ridge walk thanks to the goat trail. Would recommend this route highly!

Dennis Poulin

Dennis Poulin - Jul 15, 2007 9:56 pm Date Climbed: Jul 3, 2007

Marina Hike  Sucess!

Great hike from the Marina. Did the First Chute hike. Is there a Second Chute?

Mr. Clam

Mr. Clam - Apr 2, 2007 11:24 pm Date Climbed: Mar 26, 2007

Climbed in winter conditions  Sucess!

Windy as hell but alot of fun. Climbed via northwest ridge from Hurricane Creek. Trip report here:

Mr. Clam

Mr. Clam - Mar 1, 2006 4:33 am Date Climbed: Sep 3, 2005

Chief Joseph ridge  Sucess!

A friend and i decided to make a 3 day trip out the mountain by following the ridge from end to end. We crossed Hurricane Creek by log and headed strait up to the ridge. We camped on the ridge about an hour before the summit. We hit the summit then came down a scree chute on the ridge connecting Mount Joseph with the Hurwal Divide, camped and followed a treacherous creek bed back to wallowa lake (bad idea, involved some free climbing). (see trip report)


Josh - Sep 6, 2005 8:42 pm

Route Climbed: followed the ridge from end to end Date Climbed: September 3rd 2005  Sucess!

I crossed hurricane creek by log and started up with no trails, connected with the ridge and followed it to the highest peak, then i followed the ridge connecting cheif joseph mountain and Hurwal Divide and slid down a chute about halfway. i then followed a treacherous creek bed most the way to wallowa lake.


mrh - Sep 28, 2004 8:16 pm

Route Climbed: East Ridge Date Climbed: July 18, 1998  Sucess!

Followed the trail to the second swithback, which gets one nearest the easternmost chute. Took that to the ridge line and basically followed it to the top. Actually its much better to travel in the trees along side the chute so one can have some solid footing. I did get off onto the south slope a couple times and found tough going in the juniper and boulders. My route is basically outlined in Barstad's book. Heck of a mountain.

woodyoforegon - Sep 22, 2004 2:53 pm

Route Climbed: Hurrican Creek Trail to ridge to the south of Dunn Creek to intermediate summit between Chief Joesph and the Hurwal Divide to summit of Chief Joesph Date Climbed: 10/9/99  Sucess!

Climbed with my wife. Our 3rd peak in the Wallowas. Beautiful views.

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