Painting the Y
Whitewashing the Y
Each spring, on Y Day, male students met early in the morning to whitewash the Y. Faculty cleared the trail, freshmen hauled the water from a spring, sophomores carried up the whitewash and juniors and seniors did the pouring. The job required 500 pounds of salt, 110 bags of lime and 3,000 gallons of water. The whitewashing tradition continued until the mid 1970s when the University began using helicopters to haul the paint; thus decreasing the wear on the mountain. The Y was originally planned to go on private land, but ended up on government property and the student wear and tear from yearly whitewashings concerned government officials.
Around 1979 or 1980, the Y was coated with a sand and white cement mixture called gunnite, eliminating the need for annual whitewashings. The project required 100 cubic yards of sand, 5,400 pounds of cement and 10,000 gallons of water. The Y is now painted every two to five years. The project takes three people 10 hours to apply 155 gallons of paint, which is transported by helicopter.