Rockin’ the M is an annual event in which students of all ages and majors are welcome to hike and help repaint the giant M overlooking the city of Bozeman. The hike is about 1.7 miles one way, and the event is a great opportunity for students to meet fellow Bobcats and enjoy the great outdoors. The hike is sponsored by the MSU Office of Student Engagement, Administration & Finance and Facility Services, and will take place on Sept. 23.
The giant M that overlooks Bozeman has been a symbol of school pride for 102 years. Every year before homecoming, students volunteer to hike over a mile and a half to the M with paint cans in tow. Once they reach the M, which sits at almost 7000 feet, students slap on a fresh coat to make it pop off the face of Mt. Baldy. Once a mandatory task for freshman initiation, the hike to the M is now a volunteer event celebrating the spirit of our university and the community of Bozeman.
Conceived in 1915 by engineering students, the first stage of making the M was setting out stakes to create an outline. The following spring, 60 students set out on bikes, buggies and cars to complete the arduous task of filling in the outline with rocks. Carrying buckets filled with whitewash, lime and water, the students collected rocks from the surrounding area and the M began to take shape. As soon as a section was filled, the whitewash crew came along and painted each limestone rock so it could be seen like a beacon by the entire town of Bozeman.
Standing 240 feet high and 100 feet wide at the base, it is a symbol of community that cannot be ignored. Perched at almost 7000 feet in the Bridger Mountain range, the trail to the M connects with numerous other trails, such as the Bridger foothills trail and Sypes Canyon.
The event is free and open to the first 100 students who register. Transportation and lunch are provided. Remember, if you are still getting used to the elevation, drink plenty of water and don’t push yourself too hard. It’s an exhibition, not a competition. For more info and to register, go to calendar.msu.montana.edu/events/22903.