thanks Steve...this was a super climb. What a mountain!
I'd really recommend adding a 5th approach to this page. The Humble Oil road approach to the southwest slope route is by far the fastest and easiest way up Chief. A conservation permit is needed as some of the route is on the reservation. The road is a higher clearance 4WD road - my 4Runner was fine but a Subaru wouldn't be. If you park in the large open area, walk the last bit of steep road heading northward, then the trail departs from there and heads towards the mountain. It takes you more than a mile towards the mountain until it disappears in a willowy meadow as you began to wrap northward. If you head toward a grassy saddle containing krummholz you can pick up the trail again. It takes you to the northside where it disappears under rock fall. Here it seems best to take Edwards advice and move away from the time-consuming boulders and outwards and around on grassier (though still rocky) slopes. Then you round the bend and head southward towards the Chief-Papoose saddle. The trail can again be found moving through some rocks and leading up to the saddle where you can catch the climbers trail for the remainder of the climb. Round trip hiking distance from the car to the summit and back was 7.70 miles.
I have done this route but am now in the understanding that the Blackfeet Nation requires presence of a tribal member to access the route from the Humble Oil Road.
I intentionally did not talk about this approach due to that issue.
I also will not feature any routes to Chief in my climbing guidebook series.
I was not aware that the presence of a tribal member was required. I wish we would have known that as we likely would have chosen a different route.