Before August 2006, the tallest tree that was known in the world was a California Redwood that is 369 feet tall. This tree was nicknamed the ‘Stratosphere Giant’, and is located somewhere is the Humboldt Redwoods Park in California. This tree is twice the height of the Statue of Liberty, without the foundation to give you an idea of the true height of the ‘Stratosphere Giant’.
However, in August 2006, two naturalist Chris Atkin and Michael Taylor found a group of trees in California’s Redwood National Park. These trees were taller than any other trees that they had seen before. The naturalists took preliminary measurements using professional laser equipment that is based on goniometry. These measurements revealed three trees that were taller than the Stratosphere Giant.
The tallest of the three trees was named ‘Hyperion’. Hyperion was found to be 10 feet taller than the Stratosphere Giant and stands at a great 379 feet. After the naturalists made the discovery of these trees and the Hyperion, a team of scientists that was led by Humboldt State University ecologist Steve Sillett visited the park to measure the Hyperion again in September 2006. The scientists were looking to get an accurate measurement of the Hyperion, and used a tape measure to do this. They had to actually climb to the very top of the tree and dropped the tape to the ground. National Geographic filmed the whole measuring of the Hyperion.
While this method is the most accurate, it is not the easiest. The Hyperion also made it really hard since the lowest branches of the world’s tallest tree are at least 25 stories high. To be able to get to the top of the Hyperion, a powerful crossbow was used to launch a fishing line up and over the tree branches. Once the line was in place, the scientists used the line to hoist a climbing rope into the Hyperion. Once the rope was in place, Sillett worked his way up the Hyperion to measure the tree. Over a few hours, and by dropping the tape about every 100 meters, the team was able to confirm that the Hyperion was a 379.1 feet tall, and the tallest living tree in the world.
The Hyperion is lucky to be alive today, because, during the 1970’s, only about a few hundred feet from the base of the Hyperion, a clear cut was done. The Hyperion is part of the 4 percent of Redwood forests in the United States that exist today. While the true age of the Hyperion is still unknown, Steve Sillets believes that the tree is only about 600 years old. This is young for a tree or about 20 years old for a human. The Hyperion is still growing and is healthy. The exact location of the Hyperion is not going to ever be released to the public. This is so the Hyperion can continue to live its life without people trying to climb it, and avoid the damage that humans can cause.