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GOLDEN, Colo. — It’s a rite of passage for incoming freshmen at the Colorado School of Mines and a 117-year tradition. It’s the event known to students as the “M Climb.”

The event is where incoming freshmen trek up Mount Zion to add a 10- pound white rock to the famous “M” on the side of the hill.

This year’s freshman class, numbering nearly 1,300, hauled their rocks to the top, like so many classes before them, to dip their rock in white paint and add their mark to the “M” that sits for all to see.

This year, they had some company. Joining the new students were two members of the class of 1965. One man who never got to participate as a freshman and his buddy, who was helping him cross it off the list.

“This was on my bucket list.  I never did it 55 years ago and I thought, I better get it done no or I’m not going to get it done,” 1965 graduate Ed May said.

“I did this 55 years ago,” said his friend Lothar. “There were just a few people and we didn’t go up the road, just cross country.  And there were no girls.”

If one thing has changed in this long-standing tradition, it’s that this year’s class was 32 percent women. This is a record for the school and a 6 percent increase over last year.

If you’re looking to apply, the average SAT score to get in was 1339,  a 20-point bump over last year.