Legend & Tradition
^ Up Greasy History Ascents & Events Historical Photos Stealing & Hiding Re-living Legends Frosh Soup Elements of Trad'n



83pole.jpg (220037 bytes)Welcome to the world of the Queen’s Engineer...

...a realm of strange custom and bizarre Ritual... or so believe those uninitiated. To those within our ranks, the rituals quickly become an integral part of our collective experience.

Apart from our golden-tipped tams and purple pride, Queen’s has a unique means of testing the worthiness of the incoming freshman class. Of course, since you're looking through this CD, you know I’m talking about the Great Greasepole Climb held during the annual Orientation Week.  If you're already acquainted with the Pole, skip ahead to the history lesson, but for those new to the whole Greasepole thing (who really shouldn't have their hands on this CD), here's an introduction to what the Pole and its ascent is all about.

We'll start with a riddle.  What is long and rigid, well lubricated and is so intensely desired, it has Frosh scrambling over each other to go up and down it?

…if you did not answer THE POLE, then you have obviously stumbled upon something beyond your comprehension and must immediately remove this CD-ROM from your computer (hint: it is in the title of the game).

How tall is the Pole anyway?

You were always told the CN Tower was the tallest freestanding structure in the world and that the Great Wall of China is the only human-made structure visible from space.   Little does Guinness know that Queen’s Engineers have been ascending a more impressive structure for over 40 years.

As any Engineer should instinctively reply, the pole is sooooo high! And the pit: sooooo cold, of course! Ah, the wonders of conditioning.

The exact dimensions of The Pole are shrouded in mystery (and hard to come by considering the Pole is hidden for 364 days of the year), but I can tell you, the Pole is somewhere between 4 frosh high and the height of a satellite in low earth orbit.   It does, however, fit into a Rider truck, so you do the math.

Why on Earth do we climb it?

History, tradition, "just because"…there are many reasons.  Which you're given depends on who you ask.  It's certainly a rite of passage: the Frosh are not considered to be a Science Year until they have retrieved the tam (or a suitably large piece of it) from the top of the Greasepole.

Check out Reliving the Legend for some of the more poetic descriptions of why we go to great lengths to ensure the Pole remains an Engineering tradition.

Time for a little History Lesson.

About the Pole Legends Section

The Pole Legends section of this CD was compiled and composed by McKay Savage, Sci '99, who writes:

Thanks to all those that helped me in my research and writing. When things came down to the wire, I couldn't have done it without your help: Prof. George Richardson, Gen Okita, Philippe Lavoie, Naomi Brunemeyer, the nice people down at Queen's Archives, Greg McKellar, and Nancy Reid.

Pole Photo compilation & final edit by Robert Burke, who can't thank (or praise) McKay enough for his hard work on this section.


^ Up Greasy History Ascents & Events Historical Photos Stealing & Hiding Re-living Legends Frosh Soup Elements of Trad'n

Legend of the Greasepole Website maintained by Rob Burke. Last updated October 2004.