Derek Hough is known for his sense of adventure, but there’s one thing he will never try to do.
During a February 26, 2024 appearance on “The Jennifer Hudson Show,” the “Dancing with the Stars” judge was asked if he has ever climbed Mount Everest. “Well I’m still here,” Hough, 38, cracked. He then admitted he would never attempt to climb the famous location along the Himalayan mountain range.
“My dad and I talked about it because my dad and I are really adventurous,” Hough told Hudson. “But we’re both we’ve been told by people who did do it, ‘Don’t do it.’”
According to National Geographic, at 29,032 feet Mount Everest’s summit has significantly less air pressure than exists at sea level, making it hard for climbers to get oxygen. As of 2022, more than 300 people are confirmed to have died while climbing Mount Everest.
Derek Hough Has Done Daring Feats Underwater
While he won’t be climbing Mount Everest any time soon, Hough has completed many underwater feats, including swimming with whales.
“It’s unbelievable,” Hough told Hudson of his underwater experiences. “I tell you what that’s one of the most like spiritual experiences, truly. Because the sound that they make is so just strong you don’t really hear it. You feel your chest is just vibrating and you just honestly, it’s just like you’re kind of weeping underwater, like ‘This is so beautiful.’ And they’re so aware of you it’s like this giant submarine coming near you and you think it’s going to like hit you but they’re like. ‘Nah I know what I’m doin.’ “
“You’re terrified for a moment for sure but you’re also crying at the same time you’re like ‘This is beautiful. It’s incredible,’” he added.
Hough also detailed the time he went cage diving in shark-infested waters.
“It was crazy,” he said. “There was like 17 great white sharks and they’re surrounding us around this cage. And it was pretty awesome, it was pretty amazing. I’m not going to lie, it’s weird when you’re like in the water with these creatures like you feel more calm, you know? It’s when you’re above the water. You’re like, what was below me that’s terrifying!”
In 2020, Hough celebrated Shark Week by sharing an Instagram video of his Great White adventures. He shared footage from the dive from inside the cage, with several Great Whites swimming nearby.
Derek Hough Gets His Sense of Adventure From His Dad
Hough previously told The Washington Post that his sense of adventure was instilled in him in his childhood by his father, Bruce. “As a kid, I was a Boy Scout and my dad was very into the outdoors, so we would take these big road trips every year for my birthday and go camping and see all the amazing parks,” he said. “My trips with my dad… singing and blasting the radio, instilled in me a sense of adventure and an appreciation for our planet and the natural beauty of Earth.”
While Hough and his dad never went so far as to climb Mount Everest, the Hough patriarch did climb Mount Whitney. The Califorina mountain is the tallest mountain in the contiguous U.S., according to National Park Services.
In 2021, Hough shared photos of his dad at the top of the mountain. He then revealed that it wasn’t his father’s first attempt at climbing it. “This is actually the 2nd attempt of my Dad climbing Mt. Whitney,” Hough wrote on Facebook. “The 1st time he never made it to the top because he came across some inexperienced hikers who needed to be rescued.”
Hough revealed that his father helped warm up a “dangerously cold’ hiker and talked to him to keep him coherent. He then helped the group down the “difficult mountain terrain” so they could receive medical attention.
“I was extremely proud then and I’m extremely proud now,” Hough wrote of his father. “I definitely know where I get my sense of challenge and adventure from.”
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