Redwood Trees in Stout Grove

World's Tallest Hemlock Discovery of 2011

271.75 ft. | 82.83 m. tall. Tsuga heterophylla named Tsunami

Oct., 2014 measure 273.42 ft.


Note: in October, 2011, Chris Atkins found another Western Hemlock, at least 270 ft.. Following 2014, its uncertain whether we provide all measurements for both of those and other finds. Tsunami is being presented as the world record hemlock from 2011 to 2013.


Circumference 238" | 6.16 ft. diameter dbh | 1/4 crown estimate 11 points | 522 AF points. This hemlock is basically a triple national co-champion with 523 point & 527 point Western Hemlocks in the Olympic National Park. But I did not nominate it. When an Oregon pine was nominated, the tallest pine we found was measured too, and the verification climbing team let too many people know the location.

Copyright 2015 by Mario D. Vaden . . . . . Discovery updated at the Dr. Earle site.

Tallest western hemlock called Tsunami, discovered March 2011 by Mario Vaden In redwoods at night holding a lantern for light in a goosepen

Prairie Creek Redwoods SP
March 12, 2011 - 11:50 am

This find was on right on the heels of the World's Tallest Pine Discovery 2011. The weekend began March 11th, in Prairie Creek redwoods at 4:30 am experimenting with photography using a lantern.

At 6am, I drove to Klamath for breakfast, where I learned about the Tsunami alert for the redwood coast. The Cafe served meals until 7 am and closed shop. 10 minutes later, police let me through the roadblock on Highway 101 because I was headed into the redwoods.

My exploring began with Brown Creek trail and included other trails: James Irvine, Rhododendron, Elk Prairie, Westridge, Prairie Creek, and several small wooded valleys.

On March 12th, along Drury Parkway, researchers Steve Sillett & Marie Antoinne of Humboldt State University happened to drive by on their way to work in the park. We exchanged greetings and went our ways.

About 11:50 am, I spotted a very tall Western Hemlock. The laser read 190 feet to the top. The surprise was the reading 72 feet down to where the trunk vanished into huckleberry. Combined, that 262 feet alone was a new record.

Tallest western hemlock called Tsunami, discovered March 2011 by Mario Vaden

After an hour of measuring solo, I came up with an estimate of 272 feet.

I returned and found Sillett and Antoinne, minutes before they left. They were just exiting forest with backpacks.

After describing the find, they agreed to check it out and confirm the species. We reached the location and identification was confirmed as Western Hemlock, Tsuga heterophylla.

The next day, March 13th, Michael Taylor arrived and we measured again. The consensus after comparing the Sillett and Taylor measurements was 82.83 meters for total height. It is the first hemlock ever measured at over 80 meters tall.

This hemlock will be called "Tsunami"

The hemlock image to the left is about 11 frames stitched together. The trunk is really almost straight as an arrow.

Note: although 82.83 meters was the concensus, 82.83 meters was conservative.

Taylor's readings on the second day included the full extent of the trunk on the downhill side, for 83.43 meters | 273.73 feet. That with the use of a tripod. But for now, the conservative number was selected to represent an official height.

This hemlock discovery and the big wave event at Crescent City brought to mind something important about plant selection in urban areas: put the right plant in the right space. Basically, the wave that hit the redwood coast was not in itself a natural disaster. Buildings, docks and boats placed in an area known for big wave potential caused the problem potential.

Planting has some similarity. If certain species are planted in certain locations where they won't fit well, there is a 100% chance that problems or extra labor will come to pass. Proper plant placement means longer lasting results and reduced expenses.