Copyright 2016 by Mario Vaden
Note: Hyperion was discovered 2006 and is the tallest redwood publshed for the record. The page Redwood Discoveries stated that new discoveries are not revealed past 2014: photos or stats. Since new territory was explored and new champions found, Hyperion's info here will refer to 8 years ago, back in 2006.
Hyperion coast redwood was discovered August 25, 2006 by Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor. It was one of 3 world record Coast Redwoods found the same year in Redwood National Park. The 3 redwoods found in 2006 were Hyperion, Helios and Icarus. By 2013, heights of the 20 tallest redwoods shuffled the deck and Redwood National Park did not hold three tallest anymore by 2014.
The image below is the oldest top-to-bottom view of Hyperion, the photo farthest-removed from human influence. Taken on a rainy January 23, 2009. In that regard the four-frame composite is historical. My wife said she likes this better than the Geisha redwood print. This photo is available on 16 x 32 print canvas.
Continue below this image for more information
Even if location clues leak, my tendency for now is to withhold hints because some folks like figuring it out themselves.
This Coast Redwood was the tallest known of all plant species in the world from 2006 to 2013. The 2012 measurement was 115.66m or 379.46' high, 15.2' diameter at dbh or 4.5' above average grade. It is mostly a single stem redwood with fire charring on the trunk. Hyperion looks like a stereotypical Sequoia sempervirens.
The stem length on the low side was 386 feet. Its location is a hillside above a brook or creek of Redwood National Park. In a sense, you could accurately say Hyperion is a 386 ft. tall redwood. One professional measuring standard averages the height based on the upslope and downslope reach of the trunk. But if it were possible to remove Hyperion from the earth, hang it from a crane and rest the bottom point of the trunk on the ground, it would stand no less than 386 ft. tall. Its accurate to say Hyperion was 386 ft. tall from the lowest reach to the highest reach of it's trunk.
Around August 26, 2006, forest expert Dr. Robert VanPelt referred to this redwood as "unnamed" and wrote "The most significant year in tree height measuring just joined the ranks of years like 1066, 1492, etc."
The facts available for Hyperion are limited and the location more remote remote than the more common groves or trails most people are accustomed to.
During the first climb shown by National Geographic researcher Steve Sillett said foliage near the top was not as reduced in size as expected. The needles still had some "expansion" indicating potential for extra height. The first climb involved Dr. Steve Sillett, his wife Marie Antoinne, Jim Spickler and author Richard Preston. National Geographic's film crew tagged along plus 3 officials from Save the Redwoods League, one being Ruskin Hartley who carried the crossbow for Sillett that September 16, 2006. Michael Taylor and Chris Atkins who discovered it were also present.
Image: glimpse into the canopy, one trunk with unique hook-arm reiterations
Prior to 2010, a plane flew over several redwood parks for LiDAR but left the door open for more unknown super tall redwoods because a large amount of Redwood National Park was skipped.
A lot of people thought there was no chance another largest coast redwood trunk existed either, but more were found anyway. Chance has potential.
Helios, the 2nd tallest (2006 to 2013) was growing more vigorously than Hyperion. Michael Taylor, a co-discoverer, noted it would overtake Hyperion. This kind of back and forth between which is tallest, has been going on for centuries.
The photo here represents the coast redwood Hyperion. Other people have offered Stratosphere Giant in Humboldt REdwoods State Park as a Hyperion photo, but my photo is in Redwood National Park.
The largest waterway is Redwood Creek with Prairie Creek as largest tributary. Lost Man Creek is another tributary. Among this web of waterways and slopes stand quite a few Coast Redwoods over 350 feet including Hyperion. When I first found Hyperion, I tried a route that involved water over my waist.
My favorite story by others is a 2007 Above and Beyond by Clynes. Even though I have been to Hyperion a couple of times, I still enjoy reading this fun article from time to time. If it is still online, see ... Above and Beyond Article
The narrative unfolds as if they they picked Redwood Creek trailhead close to Orick.
That article opens weighing options in hours and pints of blood. Their first search party had a 75% casualty rate for injuries the first day. I found interesting quirks comparing Preston's book with Clynes story.
Image: my photography assistant with a Canon camera at the base of the tall Coast Redwood trunk.
It was unusually warm that day ... 80 degrees the first day of May.
Clynes never did find Hyperion, but he closed his story with a great appreciation for the forest. Its worth the read.
Clynes contacted co-discoverer Chris Atkins afterward to chat. Around April, 2015, Chris and I stopped for an IPA and supper where I asked about his conversation with Clynes, and Atkins confirmed the phone call.
I reread Above and Beyond recently. Clynes mentioned at least an "hour" of "sloshing" and the narrative indicates one of the next days was even farther so they could have gone up a full mile or more. Far enough to reach solitide grove up Redwood Creek.
The article began with 10 ft. log jams. Coming out of the gate, the story has a McArthur Creek vibe. But the Rhody patches ring true of spots like Forty Four creek or Elam creek north slope.
Clynes never says how many days they spent. The "last" day in the context of the call to Atkins remains a mystery. Some people assume the last stretch Clynes explains is the last day. But whether they looked 2 days or 5 days he did not reveal.
In the beginning, the park's ranger made the effort to draw their attention to a specific stand of redwoods and one part of the park. That's about the only time Clynes names a spot they went. Afterward, they left to study maps for where to lead themselves. They went to the visitor center south of Orick for a "better" map. Its uncertain what map they started with or whether a ranger provided any at the "headquarters" operations center earlier in the story.
One section in the narrative that reveals their thoughts . . . "I turned discreetly and scanned the steep, mazelike country upstream. Somewhere up there, Hyperion had been quietly holding forth for decades" . . . Considering the exact spot the ranger took them, Clynes' comment points toward Bridge Creek, Emerald Creek, etc..
In the future as new data is released, names are not expected to accompany the data. It may be unavailable for more people to know when the tallest cooast redwoods have actually traded places.
It may not be announce anymore, at least not by name.
Keyhole in the Landscape
Richard Preston wrote of a keyhole in the landscape, leading to Hyperion Valley.
For a while, it made no sense.
Eventually, I realized that one or two spots in the park can be described as a keyhole.
Image: cleaning lens in Redwood National Park, the same day my photography assistant, above helped me get more images
October 10, 2015
Found an interesting error this month.
Someone posted online that Hyperion's canopy / crown is the greatest known, over 90 meters top to bottom. Almost 300 ft. worth.
The error is apparently elsewhere too, but it caught my eye, since the post I read this month is also connected to a series of errors on coast redwoods.
Anyhow, let it be known that other in the coast redwood species named in Preston's 2007 redwood adventure book and on my webiste exceeds Hyperion in this regard.
There is other redwood crown out there well over 300 ft. top to bottom.
This goes to show how easily misinformation can be spread when people who disconnect themselve from redwood experts try feeding information online without consulting others.
December 25, 2014
Who is the photo assistant? A few have inquired.
It is Jenni ... the one who inspired redwood photos with dresses you may have seen in a gallery or motel. She enjoys image adjusting, video and editing. Our first shoots were in Eureka and Humboldt when she worked in Eureka as a dancer and model. I met her via Lotus who is mentioned on the Knotty Lady redwood page. They both helped establish the foundation of my redwood portraiture and art photography displayed at the redwood coast. Some hangs in motels, gallery, magazines and brochures. We also tinkered with photography at the beach, city streets and tourist attractions.
The world's tallest maple was named Humboldt Honey after a photo of Jenni taken near Koster St.. in Eureka, by a huge stack of logs. Plus I photographed her in a redwood grove where the tallest maple was located.
Jenni enjoys the outdoors of Humboldt, photos, dancing and yoga. It should be evident from the photo she has the flexibility and stamina for a lot of adventure.