The Eastern Tree Society (ENTS) recently gathered at Congaree National Park in South Carolina to perform manual and ground based measurements of notable old-growth trees.
On 2/20/09 the new national champ Loblolly Pine was measured at 168.7 feet with a circumference at breast height of 15' 8\". The longest limb measured was 54'.
The ENTS goal is to work on providing an accurate tree height and volume data set for the Congaree old-growth forest. Many of the trees can be measured and volume modeled from the ground using laser devices and clinometers but trees with large and complex crowns like the national champion Loblolly require manual measurement. The measuring team worked in the crown of the national champ for nearly 2.5 days to complete the measurement. On the last day in wind gusts up to 45 mph.
Climbers David Myers aka Ice Cream Man (TCC, TCUSA) and Andrew Joslin aka Moss (TCC, TCI, ENTS) provided climb support and photographic documentation. The first branch of the Loblolly was over 100 feet. After some short shots and minor gear adjustments Joslin was able to place a line in the champ using a modified Sidewinder. The Sidewinder head was mounted on a 3-section 10 ft pole. The throwline configuration that worked was a 10 oz bag on a 180 ft. 1.75 mm throw line tied on to 180 ft. of 2.2 mm of throwline. The sling was pulled full length of the pole and released with a trigger system. The sling rubbers are not stock and are longer than what's shipped with the Sidewinder (invented by Jeff Newman). The bag cleared the limb easily. Joslin and Myers then placed a line in an adjacent Loblolly of similar scale and ascended to document the measuring climb.
Ice Cream Man in the upper crown of a giant Loblolly Pine
ENTS president Will Blozan (up top) and PNW old-growth researcher Bob Van Pelt in the top of the national champ Loblolly Pine
Ice Cream Man preparing to descend from the lower crown of the \"photo tree\" on a plus 100 ft. limb. He's DRTing down to a static line setting just below.