Frary Peak

December 21, 2021


Salt Lake City, UT

Frary Peak is the highest point on Antelope Island inside the Great Salt Lake. The entire Antelope Island had turned into some tourist destination thank to the proximity to Salt Lake City and a trail had been built to the very summit of Frary Peak. There are a lot more to do on Antelope Island than just Frary Peak but I only had one day in the area which was unfortunately not quite enough to soak everything in.

This was the second day of this past Christmas-New Year peak-bagging trip. I woke up in Tremonton, Utah in some frigid temperatures and had to spend a few minutes to scrap the ice off my windshield and also to warm up the truck. I then followed the Google’s direction through the urban areas onto Antelope Island. There was a thick smog layer obscuring the visibility down to at most 50 m ahead, but above the smog layer would be nothing but blue sky, so the stoke was high. At the entrance to the island I had to pay 15 dollars for a day-pass, which was a bit disappointing. The gate to the trail-head was open despite the winter conditions so I drove to the “normal” starting point. The peak looked wintery so I opted to carry snowshoes. This time the snowshoes turned into just some dead weight for training, but I could not take a chance on this. Another group started at the same time and they only had trail runners and microspikes.

Frary Peak and Dooly Knob on Antelope Island. GPX DL

The quality of this trail was overall better than expected. In short time I had arrived at the saddle between Frary Peak and Dooly Knob. I decided to tag Dooly Knob later on the return so that I could focus on the main objective first. The trail then traversed around to the west side of the ridge crest to bypass a steep section. There’s a fun spot where I had to tunnel through a hole in a massive boulder. After regaining the ridge it was a long and undulating plod directly due towards the summit. This section dragged on for quite a while and the “summit” visible from below turned out to be the false summit. Oddly enough this false summit had an official name – Stringham Peak. Unfortunately I was not aware of that so didn’t bag it on this trip.

Frary Peak from the drive-in.
This is from the parking lot. It’s worth a visit even if you don’t hike…
Another group of hikers started at the same time as I did.
That same group of hikers with Beacon Knob partially visible behind
Thurston Peak (P800m) and Francis Peak on the east side of Salt Lake City
The trail traverses to the NW side of the ridge and became a bit rocky
Regained the ridge now, looking west
The dog from the other party caught up, with Dooly Knob behind
That same group of hikers again, with Mt. Ogden (P1100m) behind
Elephant Head to the west, still on Antelope Island
The trail makes a straight beeline due south roughly following the ridge crest
The low-angled December sun made for some cool contrast
That same group of hikers again… Willard Peak behind
The bump is officially named – Stringham Peak… I didn’t do it on this trip..

The trail that traverses to the true summit of Frary Peak actually descends to the west side of the ridge and ascends the west ridge in the end, but again I was not aware of that. I followed faint footprints on the ridge crest and the terrain soon became scrambly. There was abundant narrow spots and some 3rd class scrambling (with fresh snow). I noticed the actual trail far down below after about halfway across the ridge and instead of backtracking, I decided to just scramble the ridge to the summit and use the trail to descend. It was quite fun actually. A lot of hikers were seen on various parts of this trail on this particular day, but I was the only person able to make the true summit. At least two groups followed me on that 3rd class ridge but they all turned around.

I made an error here by sticking to the ridge crest, but it turned out to be fun
Exposed 3rd class scrambling with lots of notches and steps. Fun time.
Summit Panorama from Frary Peak. Click to view large size.
Deseret Peak far in the distance is one of the 4 Ultras in this general area
Molly’s Nipple forms the southern tip of Antelope Island, in foreground
In the distance behind the smog layer is the highpoint of Stansbury Island (P700m)
In the distance are Promontory Mountains with Messix Peak (P700m) being the highest
Another photo of Willard Peak (P900m) across the lake
A wider view of Great Salt Lake looking east
Me on the summit of Frary Peak
Another photo of me celebrating the summit of Frary Peak

After almost an hour on the summit I finally decided to retreat. I correctly located the trail and had no problem descending back to the false summit. Unfortunately I did not bother with that 12 m prominence bump as I did not know it actually had a name. I quickly made my way down to the lower saddle, ditched the backpack and dashed up Dooly Knob. This bump had at least 50 m prominence so worth to check out. I then leisurely descended to the truck.

A southern view towards Flat Top Mountain, one of the 4 Ultras nearby
The trail traverses far under these imposing cliffs guarding the summit ridge
Looking back along the correct trail
Back to easier terrain now.
Another view of Elephant Head
Me posing in front of Thurston Peak on the descent
Looking back at Frary Peak from Dooly Knob
Summit Panorama from Dooly Knob. Click to view large size.
Time to descend back to the truck

I still had about an hour and half’s daylight time so I had to make use of that. I noticed a “peak” called Buffalo Point on the far NW corner of Antelope Island and that had more than 100 m prominence. I drove there to the highest possible parking spot and hiked to the top in about 15 minutes. After making my way back down I drove back to the bridge that connects Antelope Island with Salt Lake City, pulled over and watched a beautiful sunset over the Great Salt Lake. In the evening I again did the routine thing – grocery for food and McDonald’s for wifi. Eventually at about 9 pm I left the McDonalds and drove to the next trail-head, about an hour to the south.

Me on Buffalo Point now.
Two other hikers scrambling down from the true summit boulder on Buffalo Point
Thurston Peak again, from Buffalo Point.
Back down to the lake shore now, looking back at Frary Peak through the smog
Evening alpenglow on Thurston Peak across the city
A gorgeous sunset over Great Salt Lake to finish off the day