While many of you northerners were hunkered down in a snowy mess,
Riddle, James Parton, Jason Childs and I went into the Bradley Fork
watershed yesterday to climb and tape-drop the super tuliptree Jess
2006. I lasered the tree this past September, and as it was a
the tallest known specimen a climb was more than justified.
Bradley Fork GSMNP Sept 21, 2008
The heavy rains of the past week had Bradley Fork swollen to a
torrent. Our usual crossing spot was underwater so we had to cross
means. Jess and I chose a slippery hemlock log, Jason rock-hopped
across some toppled rhododendron, and James simply walked through.
way out we choose to walk upstream to a bridge.
Jess crossing the log.
And James just crossing!
We hauled the gear up the cove to the tree. The first limb was 85
and the ground sloped so the initial line set was difficult without
slingshot (which we should have brought.). Four LONG pitches later I
to 160 feet which was as high as I was comfortable going in the
Jason brought up a 17 foot pole with which I was able to reach the
the height determination. Jess scouted the other tops so we had the
one and we set the tape straight up and down.
Looking down from 160 feet. Jason is barely visible in white
Jason working his way up.
The final tape reading was 181.35 feet, just 7 inches less than
laser shot in the summer. I am still amazed at the accuracy of the
ENTS sine method. As a bonus, we discovered this tree has multiple
180' and the highest recorded liana in the eastern US; Virginia
found to reach 166.5 feet!
View up into the highest top.
This climb confirms or solidifies several important current
This tree is the tallest known tuliptree, and sole representative
the "180 Club"
Tuliptree is the tallest eastern hardwood
Tuliptree is the only hardwood in the east to break 180 feet tall
Tuliptree is currently the tallest native hardwood in North
The motley crew: Will, Jason, James and Jess at the base of the
A tree of such significance needs an appropriate name. I'll leave
that up to
Will F. Blozan
President, Eastern Native Tree Society
President, Appalachian Arborists, Inc.