This is the Herndon Climb at the US Naval Academy
Basically, they send a thousand freshmen plebes scrambling up a 21 ft granite phallic symbol that has been coated with 200 pounds of lard.
Oh, and they hose the freshmen down while they're climbing.
"The scene is unforgettable to those who watch, as the sweating, grunting, red-faced midshipmen at the bottom, their arms linked, support a human pyramid surging to the top of the monument."
The Navy is thinking about doing away with this hallowed tradition in the name of "safety," though opponents are quick to point out that there's nothing that unsafe about the climb, especially when you consider that these young men are being trained for the military.
Somehow, I get the impression that some high-ranking Navy official saw this momentous occasion on a visit to the Naval Academy and thought to himself, "Now, this is just wrong on so many levels," and went back to his office and said, "I think we should put an end to the Herndon Climb because... it's... it's unsafe!"