The low clouds obstructed Chief's Peak from view for the entire day, and was completely socked in clouds as I approached it. I had only the GPS to show me where the peak actually was. Unfortunately, the device did not indicate a summit trail which explains why I must have just walked right by what passes for a route to the summit. This also explains how a new summit route was pioneered on Chief's today:
Chief's Peak, Direct Northwest Face; Grade II, Class III.
This unpleasant route starts from Nordoff Ridge road and ascends the northwest face. Climb directly up the northwest face making sure to go in a straight line up the mountain regardless of obstacles. Deviating from the route is not advised. This route is characterized by thick brush, prickly plants, scree, loose rock, brush tunnels, and several sections of Class 3 climbing. This climb is not recommended. First Ascent: the author, 04/28/2010.
Upon the summit I was pleased to find a real summit register (last entry: 04/08) and a USGS marker. As you can see in my summit entry I was not impressed with the views (clouds), and I was still pissed about being soaked. The summit is narrow and rocky but I found a sheltered spot to get off my feet and devour my PBJ. I reached the summit at 12:05, 4:20 minutes, and 4,400 feet gained over 7.5 miles.
Lord 'ave mercy! I was able to find something resembling the trail off the peak! It was steep, rocky, and reminded me of a common military colloquialism describing goats fornicating. But it pointed down which is a good place to start. Being in a cloud I was a bit concerned about my direction until I popped out onto Nordoff Ridge and quickly located my earlier tracks. After that I pounded out the remaining 6 miles of grueling downhill.