Watch scientists scale the world’s second largest tree, in Sequoia National Park, in winter

Meet “The President.” This tree in Sequoia National Park is 3,240 years old, 247 feet tall and 27 feet in diameter.

“Stephen C. Sillett, the first Kenneth L. Fisher Chair in Redwood Forest Ecology at Humboldt State University, and his colleagues have confirmed the second-largest tree on earth above a trail junction in Sequoia National Park,” according to the Humboldt State newsletter “Humboldt State Now.”

“In addition to confirming the tree’s near-record size, state-of-the-art climbing technology and extreme precision have enabled the Sillett operations crew to pinpoint startling facts, among them: a big tree’s rate of growth can increase despite old age.

“Sillett calls the giant sequoias ‘snow trees’ because they endure and thrive for months each year in the deep freeze of winter. Despite the short growing season, they can grow larger than their coastal redwood counterparts.

“The research is a key component of the 10-year Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative, led by Humboldt State and UC Berkeley redwoods scientists under the auspices of the Save the Redwoods League, San Francisco. The objectives are to gather research on how redwoods can survive immense environmental alterations and devise a long-term, comprehensive strategy for redwoods adaptation to protect and restore redwood forestlands.”

The tree is photographed here by National Geographic magazine photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols for the December 2012 issue. The final photograph is a mosaic of 126 images.

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