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Naval Academy's Herndon Monument Climb (Photos)

ANNAPOLIS, MD - MAY 22:  Annapolis Naval Academy freshmen make a human wall to climb the Herndon Monument which is covered wi
ANNAPOLIS, MD - MAY 22: Annapolis Naval Academy freshmen make a human wall to climb the Herndon Monument which is covered with lard, on May 22, 2012 in Annapolis, Maryland. Each year the freshman class, known as 'Plebes,' climb the monument at the Naval Academy to retrieve the Plebian Sailor's hat and replace it with an officer's hat. The tradition is one step in marking the end of wearing freshman headgear and moving up to headgear more like a U.S. Naval officer. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

On Monday afternoon, about 1000 Naval Academy midshipmen will attempt to climb a greased, 21-foot-tall obelisk.

The Herndon Monument Climb is a yearly tradition for freshmen, who will endeavor to replace a "dixie cup" hat at the top of the monument with an upperclassmen's hat.

The monument will be covered with a couple hundred pounds of lard -- which can make for a slippery, and many-hours-long, undertaking.

Here's more from the Naval Academy's website on the history of this tradition -- and here are some photos from last year's climb to tide us over until 2013's hat exchange is done:

PHOTO GALLERY
2012 Herndon Monument Climb
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