Matthew Nyman died in an avalanche in Alaska last week. He was 43.
Nyman was an Army veteran, wounded warrior, government innovator and 2017 Olin EMBA alumnus.
Last Tuesday, he and two other climbers drove to the trailhead at Bear Mountain, near Chugiak, an area about 20 miles northeast of Anchorage. The last time anyone heard from them was around 10:30 a.m. that day, Alaska State Troopers reported.
The climbers were due back at the trailhead around 5 p.m. Tuesday and were reported overdue to the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center, according to media reports.
On Wednesday morning, February 3, troopers and the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group began to search the mountain. Searchers saw that an avalanche had happened, and they found the men’s bodies buried in the slide.
Nyman, who lived in Denver, was an experienced climber, his wife, Kris Crichton, told the Tribune News Service. An Army Ranger turned Delta Force operator, Nyman was severely injured in a 2005 helicopter crash.
“He fought to be healed from the loss of a leg and no use of his other foot, in addition to a traumatic brain injury, to be able to walk again, climb mountains and work for the government to fight drug cartels in Mexico,” Crichton said Thursday. The couple met at Olin while Nyman and Crichton were both in the EMBA program, and they married in September 2020. (See his obituary.)
Nyman had considered business school for years. The helicopter crash helped accelerate his thinking, according to a 2019 Olin Blog post. During a combat operation, he was a passenger in a helicopter landing atop a building in Iraq. The crash left him with severe injuries to his head, back, lungs, femur and a below-the-knee amputation of his right leg.
After fighting his way back to health and building a stellar career developing and launching threat-assessment centers in the military and public sector, he pivoted to the private sector.
Nyman was a dedicated father to his two sons and his stepson, Crichton said. He most recently was the Cyber Fusion Center director for American Family Insurance.
He also was featured in the 2012 documentary “High Ground,” which followed 11 veterans as they climbed the Himalayan Mount Lobuche.
Nyman served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
A Matt Nyman Memorial Fund has been set up on GoFundMe to help support his widow and children.