The M on Mt. Zion

Students on the M Climb.

The M on Mt. Zion at night.

The M_05_Colorado School of Mines

The M on Mt. Zion

The M_10_Colorado School of Mines

The M on Mt. Zion

The M on Mt. Zion

Students on the M Climb look to campus.

Marvin the Miner on Kafadar Commons

Students on the M Climb.

Mt. Zion is a prominent peak in Golden, Colorado, that sports the Mines M. It’s believed the M was born in 1908. The Golden Globe, the city’s newspaper at the time, reported that about 20 faculty members and 250 seniors from the class of 1908— inspired by the U at the University of Utah and driven by a fellow student Herbert Everest’s descriptive geometry problem of designing the M for his senior thesis—placed the 104-foot-by-107-foot M on Mt. Zion on May 15, 1908, resting on a 23-degree slope.

Carrying a rock up the mountain is an important tradition at Mines. Freshmen began carrying rocks to add to the M in 1951 as a part of freshman orientation and a way of unifying the freshman class and instilling them with school spirit.

In 1989, Blue Key, the student organization charged with the care of the M and its traditions, modernized the lighting with upgraded wire and replaced the light sockets with weatherproof 11-watt bulbs. About nine years later, the M’s circuit box was rewired so lights could be lit in varying arrangements, designs and colors.

The first renovations in the 21st century included computerized lighting with a wireless controller in 2003 that allowed for remote operation from the Mines campus. And in 2008, for the M’s 100th anniversary, Blue Key replaced the incandescent lights with energy-efficient, two-watt LED bulbs.

Read more:
The Climb that Binds in Mines Magazine

Photo Opportunity

Photo Opportunity: Campus Art and History