Redwoods in Stout Grove

Largest Coast Redwoods | New Era of Discovery 2008 - 16

Last 1/2 page covers redwood explorers 1963-2006

Continued from: Coast Redwoods Main Page

Copyright 2014 - 2016 | by Mario Vaden | I.S.A. Certified Arborist - PNW 5584A

Redwood National and State Parks now has the tallest & widest redwoods, surpassing giant sequoias for girth as well as height. Coast Redwoods below are a handful of new 2008 to 2016 discoveries. Upwards of 100 new diameter records, titans, champions and 18 ft. (+) redwoods. The largest (disclosed) is over 25 ft. wide. See Grogan's Fault for a sample. There were enough 24 ft. (+) diameter redwoods that I quit counting. Plus a 235 ft. weeping Hemlock. As of 2016, new Sequoia sempervirens discoveries meet and exceed 1321 point General Sherman (Sequoiadendron) by no less than 40 points. Ever since the 2008 discovery of Dog Soldier and others in Redwood National Park, it was evident more must exist deeper in the forest . . . Update: another new champion was found in RNSP, January 30, 2016, named "Hail Storm". It's superb condition after 2014 & 2015 dry seasons was a good sign. I considered calling it "Fat Lady" (Sings). Because other giants not shown, were found too, the #1 menu slot was given to The Dark Horse as a place-holder. The end of this page adds why some info is withheld.


Read more below the image ... myself, shown for for scale

Grogans Fault redwood, wider than famous redwoods Grove of Titans


John of Humboldt had a 2014 find in Redwood National Park with a circumference 107.8 ft or 34.31 ft. ground diameter and 27 ft. dbh. Weeks later I found a redwood 27.4 ft. diameter dbh. May 10, 2015, John reported a record 29.2 ft. diameter dbh, single trunk, over 25,000 cu. ft. Then John and Michael found a 24.5 ft coast redwood July, 2015. John discovered a 25 ft. diameter redwood late July, 2015. August 2015, I photographed one more 24 ft. redwood Atkins identified in RNP near the coastal trail. Another was remeasured at 28 ft. There were so many I quit counting going into 2016, but John is recording all the data ... search and finds continue. The discoveries launched Coast Redwood ahead of any Giant Sequoia for widest trunk diameter. Numbers used for giant sequoia often state ground level to inflate and make it sound bigger. For ground or diameter chest-high (dbh) coast redwood still became widest by 2014 to 2016.

Atkins and Hildebrant the math whiz from Humboldt, number-crunched 38,299 cu. ft. for Grogan's Fault, the biggest single stem redwood (disclosed). Over 300 ft. tall, over 20 ft. wide, over 1296 points. The 38,299 ft.3 was just the main trunk excluding reiterated trunks which add even more volume. There is more data and complex measurements on these redwoods but that should convey a sense if what else remains in the forest.

By 2014 to 2016, we were aware of more, in the 40,000 ft3 to 60,000 ft3 league. It reasoned something this large remained around Redwood National Park. The photos and stats have not been specified, but are recorded on a growing spread sheet with hundreds of coast redwoods with diameter 18' - 29' and more. One of the most astounding towers in Brünnhilde Gulch.

There were also some tallest coast redwood revelations, noted on my older Hyperion page.


More below the image ... Chris Atkins shown for scale

Largest Coast Redwoods of Redwood National and State Parks


Regarding Grogan's Fault, Michael Taylor was looking at a point cloud of the trunk like a 3-D model. He stated this redwood was "over the top impressive ... the trunk barrel ... single but elliptical.  It would not surprise me if the total volume of this beast is over 40K cubic feet. " ... For Melkor, May 2015, Taylor wrote that the main trunk is 33,500 cu. ft.. Del Norte Titan's main trunk is 33,670 cu. ft. with 9.5% volume from 43 reiterated trunks. Iluvatar has 12.3% in over 100 reiterated stems and the main trunk is just 32,890 cu. ft.

In light of the new giants discovered between 2013 and 2016, Grove of Titans in Jedediah Smith no longer has the largest coast redwoods. Basically, 2008 opened a new era of discovery, 2014 became a Year of Discovery, and 2015, 2016, etc., continued with new discoveries..


Explorers of the Redwood Coast

Among the explorer network, Ron Hildebrant goes back years with Michael Taylor. After Dyerville Giant of Humboldt Redwoods fell March 24, 1991, after a strorm, Michael and Ron teamed-up to calculate height using marks on the adjacent "Cat Scratch" redwood. Dyerville Giant was discovered around 1966 by University of California scientist Paul Zinke and graduate student Allen Stangenberger. Taylor and Hildebrant realized the fallen Dyerville Giant was actually an unknown potential world record.

In February 1993, by phone, Zinke told Michael Taylor to watch for his other finds tagged 12, 13, 14, or the Three Peas in a Pod. Taylor and Hildebrant first became friends around Christmas 1990, and their first expedition together was February 1991 in Humboldt Redwoods State Park searching for tallest redwoods. Between that winter and the next summer is when Taylor began his quest for largest coast redwoods. Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park was Taylor's starting point.

Michael Taylor and Steve Sillett met autumn 1994 after Taylor spotted a super tall coast redwood. When Sillett arrived with a climbing team to measure, he noticed a small #12 tag, meaning it must be one of Zinke's Peas in the Pod. This is the same redwood they named Telperion. The group also spent a night up in it high canopy during a small rain storm, sleeping in customized hammocks called Tree Boats, acquired from New Tribe of Oregon. Telperion fell during the next strong storm 1 or 2 months later. The team may have escaped death by a matter of weeks. By 1996, Sillett climbed and confirmed Taylor's Mendocino redwood as a new world record for that era; 367.5 ft. And they found others together around the same time like Pipe Dream in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

1987, Sillett's first exposure to the famous redwoods overlapped enrollment at Reed College where he studied botany. He eventually went camping at Prairie Creek, involving his legendary free-climb of a big redwood with friend Marwood. They used a smaller adjacent redwood's limbs to reach 70 feet, then leaped into the big one, and to the top. They obviously made their way down, but with some conflict with yellow jackets. The same week, Taylor, who had already experienced the redwoods at a younger age, was 15 miles away with a tour group in Redwood National Park.

In 1996, Sillett was hired to teach at Humboldt State University, and moved to Arcata from Corvallis, Oregon, three years after meeting Taylor. Sillett was very busy but managed to squeeze in a few hikes and bushwhacks with Taylor. Sillett also applied to Redwood National Parks at that time to climb coast redwoods for research. That is when Redwood National Parks established a permit process for scientists. There was no established climbing permit process for redwoods before. This is when the study and climbing began in Iluvatar and Atlas Grove redwoods. Sillett already knew Robert Van Pelt, a long-time explorer of other Pacific NW forests. He contacted VanPelt, taught him redwood climbing techniques, then Robert (Bob) joined the Atlas Grove study project. In 1997, Sillett called Taylor and started teaming with him to explore Redwood National Park on foot for more tallest redwoods. 1998 is the year Sillett and Taylor discovered Lost Monarch up in Jedediah Smith, the largest coast redwood known for that era.

Soon after in 2000, Atkins heard about Taylor. They met and teamed together for many explorations including discovery of the world records Helios and Hyperion in 2006. Earlier, Atkins broke the world record himself in 2000, with Statosphere Giant in Humboldt Redwoods State Park; it displaced the Mendocino coast redwood for at least four years. Together they found at least another hundred redwoods 350 ft. and taller.

We should note Paul Zahl, who, in 1963, led a small National Geographic expedition to what later became Redwood National Park. Finding no world record at first, he flew back east, but returned shortly and discovered the Libbey redwood: a world record that held the title for quite a few years. Zahl seems one of the shortest-lived redwood explorers, but I think the effort deserves attention. His discovery was also useful leverage to help secure Redwood National Park. Much of their quest did not have the present-day trail system to get around. He practically had to bushwhack the midst and banks of Redwood Creek. They finally found an old logging road to get into new spots.

Most of these discoverers are named in Forest Giants of the Pacifc Coast by Robert Van Pelt, or Richard Preston's non-fiction redwood adventure book. This is part of the network in a nutshell. Check out my review page on that Preston book because another explorer of a different sort is mentioned: G. F. Beranek.



Around 2008, I was contacted by Steve Sillett and Michael Taylor independently about one or two months apart. Taylor invited me to explore and explained his methods. Sillett invited me to check out potential study plots and explore with him and Dr. Robert Van Pelt (aka The Lorax). Eventually Sillett offered me part time work assisting Chris Atkins to measure other tallest known redwoods associated with a LiDAR project. In those years and following, I found new notable or record trees with them, found a few on my own, and met other people involved with the research network: Marie Antoinne, Jim Spickler, Giacomo Renzullo, Anthony Ambrose, Dr. Hiroaki Ishii and Kenneth Fisher. This is where I joined the redwood forest network.

For the LiDAR redwoods, Chris Atkins preferred camping, and we spent many evenings enjoying campfires and talking about the day's adventures as fog rolled-in over the redwood park. The few times I helped Steve Sillett, cabin lodging was in style, with home-cooked meals.

Later, Zane Moore and John Montague entered the scene. Zane especially for albino redwoods, and John particulary for large coast redwoods. As I lean a bit more to photography locations in the redwoods in the future, I can see Zane or John picking up steam through remaining unexplored valleys of Redwood National and State Parks. I still have strong interest, but I started photography as a profession through my redwoods experience and plan to focus on that niche more in addtion to portraits and wedding photography.


Image ... giants encountered during the new era of discovery

Largest Coast Redwoods of Redwood National and State Parks


Changes for redwood canopy research climbing

If you read my page about people leaking a few redwood locations ... that problem also triggered permit difficulties. A couple years ago applying for a permit, I saw new hurdles on the application form. April 2016, the difficulty was confirmed in more detail after stopping in Arcata to talk with Dr. Steve Sillett. To those who saw Sillett's HSU redwood pages and canopy photos in previous years, he chose to take those offline. Aspects of Coast redwood canopy research are on the decline. From the April conversation, I gather that people should not anticipate the same kind of yearly updates they were used to seeing back around 2000 - 2013 ... In an odd way Preston's redwood adventure book led to the demise of coast redwood habitat and research by the way the author described stuff.


Why some redwoods, photos and stats were withheld

Some amazing redwood photos or stats were withheld after learning about people who triggered damage around some redwoods. So the full extent of new discovery hasn't been unveiled. Also, Grogan's Fault was not nominated because it's not the only new discovery with lots of points; there are mulitple coast redwoods with lots of AF points.

People are inquiring if we found a coast redwood the size of General Sherman. The question is best left on the back burner, because the Sierra Nevada is better prepared for crowds. It will save money and wear. People accept and believe signs whether it's the 110' Shrine Tree marked 275' or 286' Big Tree marked 304'. People can be content with old news and landmarks. Many thought the National Geographic Redwood was tallest until told otherwise about the Mendocino redwood (etc..). So rather than show and tell everything, we realized old discoveries and stats suffice for most people. I will still share photos of appreciable redwoods. A couple of the undisclosed may even "peek" slightly without mention. But stats from 2014 onward will be omitted including another champion discovered January 30, 2016, south of Brünnhilde Gulch.

It should be okay to provide one statistic ... singular. For comparison, NPS claims General Sherman's trunk diameter is 17.5' at 60 ft. above the ground. At 50 ft. above ground level, coast redwood has attained 19 ft. diameter with zero taper for about 50 ft. worth of trunk length. The coast redwood's 50 ft. girth is near identical to the historical Crannell Creek Giant, except the presently-living Sequoia sempervirens has a significantly wider dbh and more height.


About redwoods people encounter and emails


People often send emails about redwoods they encounter hiking or bushwhacking, wondering "does it have a name?" ... what does this tag mean? ... has it been found before? In a nutshell, virtually nobody except Montague or Moore found something noteworthy that Taylor, Sillett, Atkins or Hidebrandt hadn't already seen many years ago. Unless somebody finds something bonafide in a rare size class never heard of, discoverers or researchers won't have much interest to check it out. 99% of the time, people write about stuff that's been seen and archived. Before writing, here's a few categories of redwood finds that may be worth sending a mssage to report:

  • Heights 378 ft. to 390 ft.
  • Diameters 28 ft. to 34 ft.
  • Volumes 36,000 cu. ft. to 65,000 cu. ft. (+)
  • Weeping form
  • Albino Douglas fir, Hemlock, Spruce or Yew

Do an accurate dbh measure using a circumference wrap so anything elliptical is averaged, And height measured to 1 ft. or better accuracy with a high-end laser unit.

Enjoy your adventure !!


Image - redwood found recently with Chris Atkins. A rock solid cylindrical stovepipe.

2016 Coast Redwood discovery update


The Permits

Redwood National and State Parks expressed they prefer permits for activity like wrapping tapes around trunks or using a laser rangefinder to "gather data" like height and girth. So I applied for permits, 2014 and 2015. Afterward I wrote and delivered the end-of-the-year report requested and agreed to for each permit. The conditions include stuff like not giving away locations of new notable discoveries. Its worth mentioning that several new disocveries were found just before or after the permit and I am not obligate for those finds. But for the more part, treat them as if they were found when the permits were active.

These days I am priimarily taking scenic landscape and forest photos which does not require a permit. And if I find a champion, it would be by coincidence since that's not my aim. So at the moment, I'm not applying for research permits. A few other folks are searching, but whether or not they get permits, I don't keep track.

Redwood research permit


$1000.00 donation to Jedediah Smith & Grove of Titans

This is a copy of the letter and check sent to the CA Department of Parks and Recreation as a contribution to contend with environmental impact in the Grove of Titans at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. For their purposes I am listed as the contributor. But a large part of this came from someone else who I express a big thank you to for support.

The primary intent of the donation is for signs, trail or other needs in the grove at their discretion.

Photos showing damage are provided on my Screaming Titans redwood page. My estimate was 8,000 sq. ft. of destroyed vegetation. But Redwood National and State Parks posted a sign July 2016, stating 3300 sq. meters impacted, the area of 7 basketball courts added together.


Image: check from M. D. Vaden to DPR / for Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. If anybody else cares to donate to the redwood parks, contact Redwood National and State Parks for details. This is to document following-through on the campaign for contributions.

Donation 1000 dollars to Jedediah Smith Grove of Titans


Image: Tiny human pauses near a monumental coast redwood at Brünnhilde Gulch.


Coast Redwood Fat Lady