Adventure: Knowing When to Turn Around Episode #80

Aaron McHugh


We decided to turn around on Crestone Peak, just as it started getting hairy. The rain and fog were serious. The rock was crumbly, slick, volcanic, moss covered cobble. To make matters even more interesting, the gully that you must climb was flowing with three separate cascades of fresh rain.

In this podcast, my adventure buddy, Ray Cameron and I retell our experience of turning around on our attempt to climb Crestone Peak. Crestone Peak is Colorado’s 7th’ highest mountain rising to 14,294 feet above sea level. Colorado’s has over fifty-eight summits above 14,000 feet and I’ve been on a quest to summit all 58 of them. Locals call these peaks “14’ers”.

Ray Cameron on Crestone Peak ascending Broken Hand Pass in weather
Ray Cameron on Crestone Peak ascending Broken Hand Pass in weather

We recorded this podcast while driving in a rainstorm heading to hike Mt. Elbert, Colorado’s highest 14’er. Choosing to live adventurously guarantees that you will eventually encounter difficult conditions, bad weather, personality conflicts or something in your gut that tells you to turn around and go home.

Click to Listen Adventure: Knowing When to Turn Around

Ray Cameron on the summit ledges of Cretonne Peak
Ray Cameron on the summit ledges of Crestone Peak on our second attempt in dry weather after being weather off 3 weeks prior

Live to fight another day

The business of hiking and climbing mountains is serious. My college professor, Mr. Adventure-Dr. Buddy Gilchrest, used to preach, “Mountains Don’t Care”. I learned a long time ago that it is more important to,

Make it home on time, with ten fingers and ten toes.  

When I was younger I pushed the threshold of risk. W.H. Murray, in The Scottish Himalayan Expedition, 1951 said,  “Boldness has genius, magic and power”. Boldness has powered me to push beyond my perceived limits.

I’ve completed powered by boldness:

Climbed Crestone Needle-Ellingwood Arete’

Completed IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene

Climbed Kiener’s route on Longs Peak

Mountain Biked The Colorado Trail from Durango to Denver

Climbing the Middle Teton Glacier

I turned around and did not finish:

Climbing Mount Rainier

Climbing Crestone Peak -Completed August 2016 

Climbing Kit Carson Peak

How can boldness power you to push hard?

When can wisdom help you live to fight another day?

Keep adventuring-


Looking out to the Sand Dunes National Park
Looking out to the Sand Dunes National Park


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