Words and Video by Lauren Misak
Students climb the mountain the week before classes start in the fall to paint this gold "A" white. Gallons of white paint are hauled up the mountain. A paper Dixie cup is filled with white paint handed to each student. Students then climb up to the"A" and spread the paint on a small portion of the "A".
White washing the"A" symbolizes a fresh, new school year. The "A" is left white for the first week of classes in the Fall and then painted back gold.
Another tradition ASU students partake in every other is protecting the "A" from the rival U of A wildcats. Every other year, the Wildcat football team travels to Tempe to face Sun Devil football in the most anticipated game of the season.
Every meeting in Tempe brings Wildcat students that try to paint the "A" U of A colors: red, white and blue.
Students take turns and guard the "A" the weekend leading up to the game. Sometime the Wildcats succeed, but most of the time Sun Devil students stop the sabotage.
Directions: ASU's "A" Mountain is located at the Tempe campus, next to Sun Devil Stadium and off of Mill Avenue.
Cost: Hiking is free for every one of all ages.
Difficulty: Easy. Trail has steps. Handrails are along the path for easy access to the top.
What it is: The gold letter "A" makes this mountain unique from others in the Valley of the Sun. This steel and concrete "A" is 60 feet tall and was installed on the mountain in 1938.