October 10, 2015 Update: Michael Taylor posted today, that he just measured a 273 ft. tall Sugar Pine in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. This is a discovery later than the Ponderosa Pines this page was written for. That means Sugar Pine is now the tallest pine species known. It was 7.7 ft. diameter dbh. October 15th, Taylor sent a note that he remeasured and found a taller leader ... 273.79 feet.
The 2015 pine discovery was by Michael Taylor of Trinity county, John Montague of Humboldt County, and one anonymous ranger.
The area is sensitive. To avoid the introduction of pine blister rust, etc., the location will not be provided.
I will mix this news into my redwood pages and Facebook because Taylor and Montague are both redwood explorers. Michael co-discovered Hyperion, Helios and other tallest redwoods. John discovered a new coast redwood diameter record of 29.2 ft. dbh in 2015.
Taylor & Vaden Tall Pine Expedition
January 3, 2011
Discovery of 4 new world's tallest pines and 12 new tallest among Ponderosa Pine. In Southern Oregon at the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. The height of the tallest pine, according to the laser measurement in January, reached 268.35'
The tallest one is called Phalanx. Eight of the 12 pines became new height records for this species. Here is the headline from 2011:
Original News Story: The Mail Tribune Tallest of the Tall from Paul Fattig, the article author. Sunday Edition, January 23, 2011. KGW News Tallest Pine acquired and repeated this pine discovery article.
October 13, 2011, Ascending the Giants of Oregon, climbed the tallest pine to measure with a tape drop to the ground.
The climber and tape drop measure came within a few millimeters of Michael Taylor's laser rangefinder measurement: showing how accurate the Lasertech Impulse unit is in the hands of a skilled user.
October 2011 Expedition with Ascending the Giants
The October 2011 measuring was covered by two other news articles, and one KOBI 5 video
Article Land of the Giants
Article Surprise Among the Pines
KOBI 5 Tallest Pine Video Coverage
Tallest Hemlock Discovery: see Tallest Hemlock about another tall conifer discovery.
A Hemlock called Tsunami, found the same weekend the wave hit out west coast, coming from Japan.
The image to the right shows Will Koomjian of Ascending the Giants, climbing Phalanx, October, 2011.
The photo below shows the lower trunk of that tallest known pine in the world found January 3, 2011, in the Oregon Rogue River - Siskiyou National Forest.
Pulling away the tape, is Michael Taylor. Taylor also discovered Hyperion the tallest redwood, with Chris Atkins in 2006. Together, they have found dozens of the world's tallest know redwoods, including Mendocino redwood, Stratosphere Giant, Helios and Icarus.
January, 2011, Taylor and I, went on a small expedition to explore for tallest pines and discovered this one and others. By January 9th, we found 4 Ponderosa pines, each tall enough for new world's tallest pine of any species. 8 which became new height records for tallest Ponderosa pines.
On the 9th, using a tripod, we got a firm 268.35 feet. The same day, west of Canyonville, we also measured the world's tallest sugar pine. The sign said 265', but we measured 255'
January 6th, we gave a heads-up to the local Oregon news about this pine.
The discovery was entered January 2011 at conifers.org
For a size comparison, the 268 footer pine is as taller than most coast redwoods in 559 acres of Muir Woods National Monument. Sources list 258 feet as the tallest in Muir Woods, which put the tallest Ponderosa above that park's tallest Sequoia sempervirens. There are taller redwoods in other parks, but that gives a comparison for visitors who have seen that park.
On January 18, 2011, Paul Fettig from the Mail Tribune drove up to the forest area with us, along with Julia, the photographer. A Forest Service Botanist was not able to attend that day.
We were glad that Frank Callahan, from Jacksonville, Oregon, arrived too, so we could share these finds with him. It's the first time I met Callahan, who is a local naturalist, botanist and minerologist.
The group spent most of the morning exchanging information and taking photos. We showed the news team the measuring equipment and how it's used.
At the end of the day after we parted ways with the reporter and Callahan, Michael and I explored one more spot nearby and added two more pines to the total discovery. Altogether, 12 Ponderosa that are tallest known among that species. Sugar pine was the tallest pine just before this was discovered.
This newly discovered Ponderosa pine was literally a stone throw from a huge Douglas fir with a sign for timber harvest. We anticipate that the Forest Service will provide good stewardship of the habitat. Feedback from them sounded promising.
Image at right: 131 ft. Ponderosa pine in Beaverton, Oregon. This Pine should give some idea how short a person would look next to a 268 tall Pine. The one here with the woman at the base, is less than half the 2011 world record height of 268 feet. Had she been standing next to the tallest, my camera would be twice this distance away to fit the entire Pine in the image, and the woman would be just a speck.
Here's are some of the measurements:
Species, Height and dbh
P. Ponderosa 81.79m (268.35ft) 5.7m dbh
P. Ponderosa 81.1m (266 ft) 6.1m dbh
P. Ponderosa 79.8m (262 ft) 4.5m dbh
P. Ponderosa 79.1m (259.5 ft) 4.8m dbh
P. Ponderosa 78.3m (257 ft) 5.2m dbh
P. Ponderosa 78.2m (256.5 ft) 5.4m dbh
P. Ponderosa 76.4m (250.5 ft) 4.4m dbh
P. Ponderosa 76.2m (250 ft) N/A
P. Ponderosa 75.9m (249 ft) 4.2m dbh
P. Ponderosa 75.3m (247 ft) 4.6m dbh
Update February 9, 2011 Taylor went back to the tall pines area with Callahan to meet local news man Joe Camarlinghi from KOBI 5. Michael said that after the interview, they found one a 257' Ponderosa with a trunk 7 feet diameter, in the same region. According to Taylor, this new 257 footer should be a new Oregon Ponderosa champion on the AF point system, where height, girth and canopy width points are added. Not a height record, but a points champion.
Update June 3, 2011 We revisited this valley and discovered one more 250' Ponderosa. Before leaving, Chris Atkins measured one more time from a new window, farther back and with a more acute angle. Using his tripod mounted Impulse laser, the results are 81.9 m or 268.73 ft. With new shoot growth already emerging on the pines, this is indicative of both new growth and the accuracy of Taylor's measurement, 268.35 ft..
Leads welcome !
If you know of a forest area with an extra-ordinary conifer top, but never knew how to find the base, Michael Taylor would be interested. Here is his website.
If questions linger about why some groves are kept secret along the west coast or Pacific Northwest, take a few minutes to read a page first written for redwoods:
Why Some Groves Remain Secret
The article provides several examples that most people are probably unfamiliar with.
Here is one other news story during winter 2011:
Ferndale Spruce versus Coeur d' Alene Pine
Completely different thing, but still involving height and measurement.
About a Port Orford Cedar discovery:
2009 Discovery of World's Tallest Port Orford Cedar
That was near Hiouchi, California