79 F
Washington D.C.
Friday, June 14, 2024

U.S. Naval Academy Freshmen Conquer Slippery Herndon Climb to Cap First Year

Dozens of U.S. Naval Academy freshmen, known as plebes, took on the grueling challenge of climbing a 21-foot-tall obelisk covered in lard Wednesday morning in Annapolis. Their objective: ascend the slippery monument and replace a “dixie cup” hat with an upperclassman’s hat, symbolizing the end of their first year at the institution.

This time-honored tradition, known as the Herndon Climb, dates back to 1950 and honors Commander William Lewis Herndon, who heroically went down with his ship during a hurricane in 1857. The climb is a test of teamwork and determination, as the plebes must work together to overcome the slick surface of the monument, which is coated in 200 pounds of lard.

The class of 2027 completed the climb in 2 hours, 19 minutes, and 11 seconds, with Midshipman Ben Leisegang from Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, capping the event by placing the hat atop the obelisk. According to academy lore, the plebe who secures the hat at the summit will become the first admiral of their class.

Last year, the class of 2026 finished the climb in 2 hours, 31 minutes, and 51 seconds. The fastest recorded Herndon Climb was in 1972, taking just a minute and 30 seconds when no grease was used. Conversely, the longest recorded time was four hours and five minutes in 1998, a year marked by the hat being glued and taped to the monument.

Upon completing the Herndon Climb, the plebes earn the distinguished title of fourth-class midshipmen, marking a significant milestone in their journey at the U.S. Naval Academy. This challenging and symbolic event underscores the importance of perseverance, teamwork, and the strong tradition of honor and resilience at the academy.

author avatar
Matt Seldon
Matt Seldon, BSc., is an Editorial Associate with HSToday. He has over 20 years of experience in writing, social media, and analytics. Matt has a degree in Computer Studies from the University of South Wales in the UK. His diverse work experience includes positions at the Department for Work and Pensions and various responsibilities for a wide variety of companies in the private sector. He has been writing and editing various blogs and online content for promotional and educational purposes in his job roles since first entering the workplace. Matt has run various social media campaigns over his career on platforms including Google, Microsoft, Facebook and LinkedIn on topics surrounding promotion and education. His educational campaigns have been on topics including charity volunteering in the public sector and personal finance goals.
Matt Seldon
Matt Seldon
Matt Seldon, BSc., is an Editorial Associate with HSToday. He has over 20 years of experience in writing, social media, and analytics. Matt has a degree in Computer Studies from the University of South Wales in the UK. His diverse work experience includes positions at the Department for Work and Pensions and various responsibilities for a wide variety of companies in the private sector. He has been writing and editing various blogs and online content for promotional and educational purposes in his job roles since first entering the workplace. Matt has run various social media campaigns over his career on platforms including Google, Microsoft, Facebook and LinkedIn on topics surrounding promotion and education. His educational campaigns have been on topics including charity volunteering in the public sector and personal finance goals.

Related Articles

- Advertisement -

Latest Articles