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Plebes struggle to climb lard-covered monument in Annapolis, Maryland

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Annapolis Naval Academy freshmen climb the Herndon Monument which is covered with lard on May 22 in Annapolis, Maryland.

According to this Wikipedia article, the Herndon Monument on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy is a tall grey obelisk. It was erected in memory of Captain William Lewis Herndon who courageously decided to go down with his ship, SS Central America, and the men left aboard rather than save himself on September 12, 1857. All women and children and many of the men aboard were saved by a nearby ship during the storm.

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

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.

Youtube video of plebes scaling Herndon