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Ogden man makes history with highest helicopter rescue from Mt. Everest

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OGDEN — Most people can tell you the highest spot on the planet is the top of Mt. Everest. But a Utah man made history of his own when he was rescued from there during the highest helicopter rescue in history.

Ogden native, Will Calton, will become part of a medical journal as a result of his emergency and the injuries he received on Mt. Everest.

"I spent two nights there, went to camp three, and spent a night there," said Calton of his experience climbing Mt. Everest. "It's fun. A sense of accomplishment when you get to the top."

But, Calton's injuries including his broken ribs, failing kidney and liver, and frostbitten toes put a damper on his fun on the climb back down the mountain. The injuries would have prevented any further climbing in his future if he had not received emergency help.

"It would have been a total new way of life," Calton said. "One I would not have enjoyed."

But he started to get better, after spending time at Ogden Regional Medical Center's Hyperbaric Center. For three weeks, 90 minutes a day, Calton was put into a hyperbaric chamber where his wounds received pure oxygen. Doctors say that for a man who had a serious fall on his way down the mountain, kept passing out on his hike back, and needed a helicopter emergency flight, it's been an amazing recovery.

Climbers have a saying that toes are overrated, but that's only because they are losing them. Given the choice, they'd prefer to have all their toes.

–Dr. Peter Clemons

"I think this is the most dramatic story I've ever heard of somebody being rescued off a big mountain," said Dr. Peter Clemons, the Director of Clinical Services.

Clemons wanted to see if hyperbaric treatments could make a difference in Calton's recovery, so once he was well enough to get back to Ogden, they began.

Calton's toes were severely frostbitten and greatly benefited from the recovery treatments.

"Climbers have a saying that toes are overrated, but that's only because they are losing them," Clemons said. "Given the choice, they'd prefer to have all their toes."

Despite the emergency rescue and severe injuries from climbing Mt. Everest, Calton doesn't regret his experience .

"I think everyone picks their poison," he said. "Some people golf every Saturday or Sunday, twice a week. I love mountaineering and climbing mountains."


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