Photo: Michael Nichols/National Geographic
What is the tallest tree in the world? Before 2006, the Sequoia sempervirens or also known as the California Redwood was considered as the tallest tree in the World. Its height is at 369 feet or at 112.471 meters. Because of this, it was given the name “Stratosphere Giant”. As a point of comparison, the Stratosphere Giant is taller than the Statue of Liberty.
However, after 2006 the Stratosphere Giant was “toppled” in terms of being the tallest tree in the world by another Tree. This tree was discovered in the California Redwood National Park. The tree named as the Hyperion was discovered by two naturalists namely Michael Taylor and Chris Atkins. When Atkins and Taylor broadcasted their discovery, scientists from the Humboldt State University immediately set out to verify the measurement of the Hyperion tree and to see if it really did overtake the Stratosphere Giant as the tallest tree in the world.
So on September 2016 the team of scientists led by Steve Sillet went to the location of the Hyperion and proceeded with the measuring method.
To measure the tree accurately the team did not use any sophisticated measuring equipment or any advanced measuring technology. They used the old- fashion method and that is to use a measuring tape. The process of measuring did not require any advanced technique either. Rather, they measured the tree by climbing to the top of the Hyperion and dropping the tape, it can’t get more sophisticated than that.
The process of climbing, however, was the tricky part. It would require a whole lot of climbing skills. To start the climbing process, they had to use a powerful crossbow to bring the fishing line up into the branches of the tree. That part alone was a challenge because the tree’s lowest branches are about 25 storeys high. Once the fishing line is up and over the branches, the climbing rope was hoisted and secured. The climb to the top of the Hyperion was recorded for National Geographic.
Upon measurement, it was found out that the Hyperion discovered by Atkins and Taylor is standing at a height of 379.1 feet or about 115.55 meters. According to Atkins, the tree is around 600-800 years old which when converted to human years is about 20 to 30 years old. An age Atkins consider as “young”. In fact, the tree is still growing although some woodpecker damage that was seen at the top of the tree could be preventing it from growing taller.
How tall exactly is the Hyperion? Well as a point of comparison, the Hyperion is taller than the Statue of Liberty, much like that of the Stratosphere Giant. It is even taller than the Big Ben in London.
So are you ready to visit the Hyperion and take that selfie? Well, not so fast, because the location of the current holder of the title tallest tree in the world was not disclosed. The non-disclosure of the location of the tree is to make sure that the tree is protected and prevent people from going into the forest which might cause destruction not only to the tree but to the entire forest as well.