Redwoods in the forest

Stratosphere Giant Coast Redwood

24th Largest Coast Redwood and 3rd Tallest

Stratosphere Giant is listed as the 24th largest Coast Redwood, and 3rd tallest (2013 data)

Copyright 2009 by Mario Vaden

The coast redwood below is Stratosphere Giant, the tallest known in 2000, discovered that year by Chris Atkins, in Rockfeller Forest, Avenue of the Giants area. To see how tall this redwood really is compared to humans, search online sometime for the composite photograph by James Balog. Several hundred images showing researchers up the trunk at various heights.

Nearby landmarks include Avenue of the Giants, Bull Creek Flats and Woman's Federation Grove. This is Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The photograph is from around 7am the morning when I first saw the Stratosphere Giant: taken with a borrowed Nikon D40 camera. It was still pretty dark out.

2013 measurements for Stratosphere Giant redwood were 372.73' or 113.61 meters tall, and 17.0' diameter at DBH: diameter breast height, which is 4.5' above grade.

Its interesting to see what plants grow in different groves. And if the tree or logs tell any history, like forest fires from past years or centuries. Stratosphere Giant has plenty of black charred areas on the trunk, but it survived rather nicely. Of the tallest 5 coast redwoods, it was the only one with any poison-oak growing on it. Just one small remnant of a vine. Nothing very important, but I thought it was a nice accessory. Personally, I appreciate the autumn colors of poison-oak plants. The leaves add gold or red leaves against the backdrop of coarse furrowed bark. There are vines like this in Jedediah Smith redwoods near Hatton trail that are gorgeous looking. Michael Taylor showed me a photo he took from the reverse side of Stratosphere Giant with Prof. Sillett climbing, and the vine shows almost completely in his image.

In A New Vision of the American Forest, James Balog, a photographer, wrote that Stratosphere Giant was 369.875' tall when he first photographed it: September 2003. He was invited to join a research team because Prof. Steve Sillett out of Humboldt State University needed good visual documentation. Balog shared that one drizzly morning, he hiked to Stratosphere Giant, with Prof. Steve Sillett, Jim Spickler and Marie Antoinne, Sillett's wife. All three of whom are researchers. They were carrying over a "mile of cordage" including 13 millimeter rope with a breaking strength of 9,000 pounds. They were all set with 2 laptop computers, energy bars, turkey sandwiches and much more It took them a few hours to reach the top. Apparently Jim Spickler found an abandoned nest on the way up, from a Marbled Murrelet, an endangered species sea bird. This was supposed to be the highest Marbled Murrelet nest found to date, at about 320' above ground level.

From a August 2007 metroactive.com article: Santa Rosa amateur naturalist Chris Atkins first visited the redwoods in the 1980s. "I was in awe of their size, their beauty and their longevity," Atkins says. He found himself drawn back to redwood country again and again. In time, Atkins teamed up with Michael Taylor, who shared his craving for fresh air and biological extremes. Eventually, Atkins and Taylor blew $3,000 apiece on high-end laser range-finders.

Taylor and Atkins found Hyperion later in 2006. Stratosphere Giant is Atkins discovery for 2000.

Stratosphere Giant. Tallest Redwood discovered in 2000