US Naval Academy Plebes crowns first year with Herndon Climb – CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Dozens of half-naked US Naval Academy freshmen, known as plebs, gathered around a 21-foot-tall obelisk covered in lard in Annapolis on Monday. Her goal: climb the slippery monument and put a hat on it to mark the end of her first year at the institution.

The Herndon Climb is a Naval Academy tradition dating back to the 1950’s. The memorial is named for Commander William Lewis Herndon, who lost his ship in a hurricane in 1857.

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The plebeians work together to remove the “Dixie Cup” hat from the top of the obelisk and replace it with an upper class hat. But 200 pounds of lard makes the climb a bit difficult.

The fastest recorded Herndon Climb time was one minute and 30 seconds in 1972 when no grease was used. The longest recorded time was in 1998 in four hours and five minutes when the Dixie cup was glued and taped.

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ANNAPOLIS, MD – MAY 23: Fourth Class Midshipman Nick McCowan, of Sioux City, Iowa, slides down the Herndon Monument after losing his hat during the annual Herndon Monument Climb at the US Naval Academy May 23, 2022 in Annapolis of the Upperclassman, Maryland. The annual climb is the culmination of the Plebe year at the Naval Academy, where the class works together to scale the smeared monument, remove the Plebe “Dixie Cup” hat and replace it with an upper class hat. This year’s class completed the task in 3 hours, 26 minutes and 58 seconds. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

This class took three hours and 27 minutes to reach their destination.

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Fourth-class midshipman Nick McGowan of Iowa was the 20-year-old who eventually put the upperclassman’s hat on the memorial. His family congratulated him on this achievement. US Naval Academy Plebes crowns first year with Herndon Climb – CBS Baltimore

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