Redwoods in Sequoia sempervirens redwood grove

Largest (disclosed) single stem coast redwood - 1359 points

Grogan's Fault, aka "Spartan"

Arborists Portland Tree Services

Copyright 2016- 2018 by Mario Vaden, Certified Arborist / ISA PN5584A

The content on this page is also presented as arborist report. If you have a monitor, click the photo below to fill the screen for detail. More related info is on the page Year of Discovery. The human subject for scale is standing forward of the trunk mid-point for accurate representation.

The coast redwood below is Grogan's Fault or "Spartan", discovered 2014 with Chris Atkins, exploring around Redwood National Park. This redwood is referenced at and one of the "larger trees elsewhere" the Statesman Journal quoted Sillett about. Spartan is so large, it's dimensions even make General Sherman look smaller. Whereas the general looks spindly and anemic, Spartan looks robust.

My image EXIF says we first entered the grove in May, 2014. The "Spartanator" also represents several other massive finds of 2014 to 2017. Spartan redwood was discovered purely with intuition and persistence. It's measurments are verified, included in a 2014 scientific research permit report submitted to Redwood National and State Parks chief environmental scientist. Report content was not divulged to all rangers, a concern addressed before I applied for permits. Spartan was found before the permit was issued and I am not obligated to keep the location secret, but keep the location undisclosed anyway. I added it within the report for the park's scientist and research scientists. The people who have seen Spartan and have measurement data include Chris Atkins, myself, Michael Taylor, Steve Sillett and Ron Hildebrant. Spartan is not the diameter record named "Capt. Jack Sparrow", another coast redwood exceeding all known giant sequoias for diameter at both dbh and ground.

In 2009 - 2010, Dr. Steve Sillett (project coordinator) employed me to assist Chris Atkins measure coast redwoods indicated on LiDAR data. That professional work was funded through Save the Redwoods League and Humboldt State University. Spartan is not associated with that LiDAR project, but we included Steve Sillett in the network for Spartan, as we do with every new discovery. It's worth adding that Chris Atkins is not an amateur at measuring. A couple articles comment he's an amateur "naturalist". But during the LiDAR project, Dr. Sillett and Dr. Van Pelt said Atkins was the best ground-based measurer in the world for tallest trees. Chris Atkins is a professional at measuring, the best of best, along with Taylor and Hildebrant.

The main, single trunk volume measured at least 38,299 cu. ft. (41,324 to 42,059 cu. ft. / scroll to updates), surpassing Iluvatar and Grove of Titans. After viewing point cloud data, Michael Taylor commented this is "over the top impressive (&) not surprise me if the total volume of this beast is over 40K cubic feet". Unlike some largest known coast redwood discoveries of the past, we don't think anyone has ever been around this redwood titan before. The epi-center of our search was described in the Mail Tribune. The trunk is nearly 40' wide at the base. Spartan is a Sequoia species that apparently exceeds 1321 point General Sherman Sequoiadendron of the national champion registry. It also surpasses the other coast redwoods on the American Forests national registry, but we broke with tradition and do not plan to nominate it. A letter pertaining to the research permit is shown at the end of the page. Again, see more updates at my page Year of Discovery

Again, Spartan makes Gen. Sherman look smaller, imphasizing some logic in the gauging system devised by American Forests. A tree is not just a trunk, but canopy, foliage, limbs and trunk altogether. Combined as an organism, Spartan is much more grand. The pristine rainforest and absense of crowds make it all the more awesome. For size, putting Spartan next to Gen. Sherman would be somewhat like Dolph Lundgren overshadowing Sylvester Stallone in Rocky IV.

Points = 1359 (Girth 1032 - Height 309.2 - 1/4 Crown 18) .. DBH Diameter 27.38 ft. - Est. age 2700 to 3600 years

Continue reading after the image ...


Grogans Fault aka Spartan coast redwood, wider than Grove of Titans


Diameter was measured several times at several heights for several purposes. The girth points are from dbh diameter known as diameter at breast height. There is about 11 feet difference between high side and low side. The difference was averaged between high and low. The nationally recognized formula for points adds height + girth + 1/4 crown. I used Chris Atkins' height measurement. Average diameter at dbh is 27.38 ft.. Age estimate is near 3000 years. When measuring, I did not include any trunk under the soil surface. I dropped the menu rank for Spartan to 2nd largest and formed a new page The Emissary to represent the #1 arena for any other coast redwoods not yet published or remaining to be discovered. Michael T & John M. did an extra girth wrap once that was evidently subjective, adding imaginary lines cutting through the trunk. My final diameter wrap averaged dbh between high and low sides; purely sticking to fact.

Spring Water

September 2016 was a dry summer with virtually no rain June - September. It was a surprise to approach early autumn and feel boots sink ankle-deep into saturated earth - the spring was revealed. That partly answered how this redwood and a few more in Olympian Grove may attain their size. This is similar to spots near Orion and Episkopos. The presence of hidden spring water tends to debunk a super-DNA hypothesis that some people hold regarding the largest. I teach that largest coast redwoods happened to be in better conditions and happened to endure when nature threw catastrophes at them.


Grogans Fault aka Spartan coast redwood diagram of trunk volume measure

"Spartan" was the first name for this redwood. At some point, we were talking about nearby geological features in Redwood National Park including Grogan Fault that divides opposite sides of the river. That's how the second name evolved. Spartan reflects the redwood's ability to stand it's ground for so long. If others choose Grogan's Fault that's fine, but I will be using "Spartan" most often (other redwoods have 2 names too, like Melkor which is Fusion Giant, Cal-Barrel Tree which is Iluvatar, Dry Heaves Tree which is Maia, or Expansion which became Haystack Needle.

The first name stems from the Spartans and King Leonidas at the Battle of Thermopylae, in 480 BC.. They were greatly outnumbered but fought one most epic battles ever. A famous example of endurance and standing one's ground.

Grogan's Fault was the only name we published between May, 2014 and April, 2017. In 2017 when when I learned Hildebrant's age estimate, it convinced me to return to the original name Spartan again.


In April, 2017, I got the complete copy for volume measurement with diameters for every 10 ft. inccrement of height. The data starts at "0" (zero) elevation with 24.9 ft. as the diameter. That should be diameter about 1 ft. to 2 ft. above where trunk enters earth on the upslope side.

That denotes our math Guru's 38,299 cu. ft. is minus the rest of the trunk reaching at least 11 ft. lower elevation on the downslope side. He is known to be conservative. And it makes total sense why. The recorded diameter measures were all done from 4 visible sides. Anything below the upslope side (the red line) can't be aimed at from all 4 sides.

Using a conical frustum calculator, then dividing by half, the huge extra wedge of trunk can add 3,025 cu. ft.. Combined with 38,299, total volume of the main trunk without reiterations should be about 41,324 cu. ft. (convervatively). If I took my laser back there to pin-point the full low side drop and wrapped circumference along the earth, I expect closer to 3,850 cu. ft. in the wedge for a total 42,059 cu. ft.

Spartan's main stem alone appears to be bigger than Lost Monarch's bole, extra 6,000 cu. ft. redwood trunk, plus all reiterations combined. Spartan may never be climbed, and it's full volume with reiterations could remain a mystery for some time. Either way "it is what it is" says Thomas from Germany, a silent partner who helped me explore this grove.

At a height of 60 ft. the trunk averages almost 17 feet diameter. At 240 ft., the trunk is still 8 feet thick. The crown spread spans approximately 110 ft. wide and is more complex than I first realized. The age estimate is upward of 3,000 yrs.. Ron Hildebrant estimated at least 2700 to 3000 yrs. Given what I've seen in photos and documents of other coast redwoods in relation to diameters, usually much smaller, I estimate 3000 - 3600 years. There is hardly any damage along most of the trunk like goosepens or other large wounds. The crown has typical gnarl and sculpting from countless storms, but looks rock solid. Among all the coast redwood titans, if any could push for 4,000 yrs., this is the one I'd put money on.

Spartan, like Catacombs and 8675309, show how the time-proven method of searching everywhere yield awesome discoveries. It's the same way Sillett & Taylor found the Grove of Titans and the same way Taylor & Atkins found Helios. Simply pick a new area, then search every single hill, valley and ridge.

Grogans Fault aka Spartan coast redwood diagram of trunk volume measure

Several people have looked for Spartan unsuccessfully expecting a gimme like Atlas Grove or Grove of Titans. So we are not particularly worried about Spartan's location. It's far enough that my my knee was uncomfortable after carrying my photo gear there and back. So in Autumn 2017, I bought a light weight Canon M5 camera which will become my new bushwhack unit with smaller lenses. This will cut pack weight in half, easing movement everywhere in the years ahead. Pack weight has been my main limitation. Spartan was the redwood that inspired reconfiguration of my camera gear. The Canon M5 is so light, I could literally photograph Melkor, Iluvatar and Spartan in a single day by 2pm.

Closing notes - a few folks shared about trying to find this this redwood, but failing to spot or recognize it. Apparently around a secluded lost valley. This comment is merely a fragment, but the old tag in this photo is a bit closer to the actual location than where I think some were looking. This a puny tip, but it may ring a bell. Knowing a few responsible people prefer challenge, I didn't repeat the style of Preston in The Wild Trees or Clynes in Above in Beyond. Whereas they described features of Redwood National Park like creeks, log jams, valleys or seasonal bridges, I see no need to become that descriptive for time being.

Images: Spartan's thick canopy is like a forest within the forest, holding up a myriad of limbs and trunks like one in the first image. The second image is almost a full top to bottom view. It has foliage almost all the way down to ground level, making it one of the tallest canopies on the planet. The canopy is full, dense and rich color. This photo was more of a last minute capture when I noticed a spot where the entire top was visible. I hope for a better photo someday when the light and exposure are better.


Grogans Fault aka Spartan coast redwood upper canopy and reiterated trunk

Spartan coast redwood full canopy view


Grogans Fault aka Spartan coast redwood upper canopy and reiterated trunk (707) 464 - 2137 @ 701 Hy. 101 S. Crescent City, CA 95531. Click photo for more .. 8 / 2014 Curly Redwood Lodge Motel Lodging

Copyright M. D. Vaden