Will Blozan's Tree Climbs

Will Blozan climbing the Seneca Pine, Cook Forest State Park, Pa

April 26, 2003

Name Species Location Height (updated May 25, 2003)

Boogerman, White Pine, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC 185.9
     (tallest eastern tree, once 207 feet tall)
Longfellow, White Pine, Cook Forest State Park, PA 180.9 
     (plumb-bob measurement)
Riddle, White Pine, Chattahoochee NF, GA 178.6 
     (tallest tree in Georgia)
Seneca, White Pine, Cook Forest State Park, PA 169+ 
     (state champion in PA)
Yonaguska, Hemlock, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC 168.9
     (largest volume hemlock ENTS has modeled)
Tsali, Hemlock, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC 169.8
     (tallest ever accurately measured member of its species)
Jim Branch, Hemlock, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC 167+
No Name Loblolly Pine, Congaree, SC 167+ (Current National Champ)
East Fork Spire, Hemlock, Ellicot Rock Wilderness, SC 167+
Palmer Pole, White Pine, Cataloochee 167'  (11'7")
Jake Swamp, White Pine, MTSF, MA 162.5
     (tallest tree in Massachusetts)
Medlin Mountain Monarch, Hemlock, Elliot Rock Wilderness, SC, 161'10" (14'7")
Joe Norton, White Pine, MTSF, MA 161.0
Saheda, White Pine, MTSF, MA 161.2
Sequoyah, Hemlock, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN 145.3
Gabes Mtn, Hemlock, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN 120.8


Re: Longfellow Pine!!!   Robert Leverett
  Mar 03, 2002 19:55 PST 

      (material deleted)  I want to sing my old buddy's
praises. I just viewed an awesome video of Will Blozan, Michael Davie and others
climbing 3 great trees: (1) a 167-foot Loblolly giant in Congaree, (2) a
161-foot Hemlock in Walhalla, S.C., and (3) a 168 (almost) foot Hemlock also
in Walhalla. The area of Hemlocks is on the East Fork of the Chattooga
River. A close by White Pine tops 170 feet. My conclusion from this video is
that one cannot truly know trees from ground level. The dry descriptions of
growth from Oliver and Larson just don't hack it anymore. The old growth
monarchs that Will climbs are so very much more than the woody-stemmed
garden vegetables that Oliver and Larson describe. Will's trees are
veritable hotels in the forest. They harbor so much, much more life and
serve so many more functions than just storing carbon on the stem. Honestly,
forest ecologists need to get up into the canopies of these grand trees and
seriously study what is going on. It is absolutely amazing as to what is
going on in the canopy of these trees. Ecologists who study from the ground
are living in a two dimensional world and are missing a world aloft. The
complexity and diversity of canopy life gives new meaning to Bill Martin's
critique of designer old-growth, perhaps the ultimate human silliness.
Experiments that seek to blow the tops out of trees to create artificial
cavities for a select number of birds are misguided, if not down right
pathetic. Will found whole colonies of polypody ferns growing on limbs 140+
feet in the air. Caches of pine seeds. Lichen growth inches thick. You name
it. A whole different world. Nobody who views these films of Will's climbs
of these ancient trees can ever seriously view trees in an old growth forest
as just over the hill versions of tame tree farm trees. The wildness and
diversity of these magnificent southern Appalachian and southern swamp
forests is amply revealed from Will's canopy shots. Looking across the
Conagree from a perch 160 in the air shows the tops of giant emergents. All
that was missing was the head of a T-Rex. The shots have that effect.


(Will Blozan's description of regrowth on the Boogerman Pine, GSMNP)

A heck of a four days   dbhg-@comcast.net
  Oct 27, 2003 13:13 PST 


     The 1st forest summit lecture series enters the pages of forest history. The two-day series was very successful by the goals we had established. More will be said about the two-day series in the future, but for now, we are off to a good start and look forward to the next event.


     In terms of climbs, ENTS's distinguished president Will Blozan scored big successes. On Friday Oct 24th, Will and his climbing partner Ed made it up the huge Tecumseh tree and we taped it to 160.1 feet. This tree had given us fits for years, but we now have a good baseline measurement. Actually Howard Stoner gets credit for the closest measurement with laser and clineometer. Howard is getting to be a whiz. Congratulations Howard! You da man! Several other measurements by Lee Frelich and myself were slightly under to slightly over the taped length. If they were all averaged together, we'd be very close to the taped height of the Tecumseh Tree. Incidentally, Will and Ed were hit be a snow squall while at the top of the tree. Wow! Ed dropped down 8 feet to provide better counterbalance. It got a bit sporty for them. Those of us on the ground were getting worried.

     Well, I was feeling more chipper on Sunday morning Oct 26th, when Lee, Will, Ed, and I headed north to Claremont, NH. Will's objective was to climb a splendid white pine that John Knuerr and I had measured the year before. The pine grows at an altitude of 400 feet and a latitude of a little less than 43.4 degrees. It had been given the status of New England's tallest accurately measured tree per John's and my measurements. However, we needed to get a good fix on it. We had bagged four 160-footers the year before at the private Claremont site and 150-footers had proven to be more common than I had originally thought. On this trip, a number of laser-clinometer measurements taken by Lee Frelich and myself averaged out to be about 164.5 feet. However, the taped height of the tree turned out to be 164.1 feet. Not too shabby. The key to accuracy is the laser-clinometer combination and statistics, statistics, statistics. - which is what we've been saying all along to bring the measured height to with +/- 1.0 feet of taped height.

   Will and his climbing partners can now claim to have climbed higher into trees in North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire than any other person. Tennessee can probably be added to the list.

   While Will and Ed swayed to and fro in the top of that extraordinarily skinny Claremont white pine, Lee Frelick and I measured other trees. I was trying to nab all the 160-footers and thought there were six. To cut to the chase, I discovered this morning, to my surprise, that we had confirmed a total of seven 160-footers. I had thought the number to be six, but no, we actually have seven. Two are in a shallow ravine just north of the ravine with the tree that Will and Ed climbed. One of the two new trees was measured by Lee to a height of 166.1 feet. I got 165.5 feet. It is probably the tallest. So Lee now holds the record for Wisconsin and New Hampshire. Well, Will will just have to return in 2004 and confirm Lee's measurement. Its girth is a respectable 10.3 feet. By contrast, the girth of the tree that Will climbed is a slender 8.2 feet. When the wind blew, and it did, the tree swayed mightily. Will has plenty of images and hopefully he'll share some with other Ents.

    One observation Will made that I'm now hesitant to dispute is the density of 150-footers in the private Claremont Stand. Will believes that it is the highest in the Northeast, including the indominatable Cook Forest.... Nonetheless, Will's observations about the density of 150-footers is not to be taken lightly. He's probably right. Plus, Will has a distinct advantage. He's seen the forest from the top of the canopy and he reported to us tall pines jutting up everywhere.


(Full text of trip report:  A Heck of a four Days)