Chief Joseph Mountain is the backdrop for the town of Joseph and Wallowa Lake. Even though there is no trail to the summit, people regularly summit from Wallowa Lake to the east. There’s even a Strava segment for that ascent. But this route is from the less used side at Hurricane Creek. You will have to bushwhack your way through a bunch of shrubs in the lower elevations and the route up will be steep. But you will be rewarded with a sweet ridgeline and some pretty stunning views into the Eagle Cap Wilderness once you make it to the top. I’m not super good at rating these things, but I think the ridge is mostly class 2 scramble.
This FKT is open course. You can take any route you like to the summit, provided that you start and finish at the Hurricane Creek Trailhead. No summit is complete until you have made it safely back to the trailhead, so this route is out-and-back. Chief Joseph Mountain is one end of the Hurwal Divide.
It is unclear whether the mountain (and town) were named for Chief Joseph the Elder, or his son, Chief Joseph the Younger. Both were leaders of the Nimiipuu (Nez Perce.) Although they were initially friendly to white settlers, they resisted a renegotiation to their treaty that pushed them out of important ancestral lands in the Wallowa Mountains. Chief Joseph the Elder is buried at the north end of Wallowa Lake, but Chief Joseph the Younger is better known for his iconic stand against his tribe’s forced removal.
Lat/Long for the summit: 45.28560°N / 117.2611°W