Matt Nyman and two other men died in an avalanche while climbing Bear Mountain near Anchorage, Alaska, in early February.
Only five months after she married Matt Nyman, Kris Crichton received a bouquet for Valentine's Day from her husband. While it's not unusual for a husband to send his new wife flowers on Valentine's Day, these were a special delivery. That's because Nyman had pre-ordered the flowers for Crichton before setting out to hike a mountain in Alaska, she told a local news station. Sadly, he never came home.
A resident of Colorado Springs, Nyman, 43, died February 3 during an attempt to ascend Bear Mountain near Anchorage, Alaska. Nyman was climbing the challenging route with 54-year-old Thomas Devine of Chugiak, Alaska, and 50-year-old Edward Watson of Miami. The trio was apparently swept down the mountain in an avalanche, and all three died.
According to a dispatch published by the Alaska Department of Public Safety, the hikers were reported overdue late on February 2. The last known contact with the men was the morning of February 2 before they began their hike, which they were expected to return from that evening.
Alaska State Troopers and the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group launched a ground search of the area on February 3 and discovered a recent avalanche slide area where the bodies of the men were found buried in the snow.
Nyman was an experienced mountaineer who persevered despite the devastating injuries he sustained during his military service. As a Sergeant First Class with the U.S. Army's Special Operations Forces, he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2002 and Iraq in 2005. He sustained life-threatening injuries as the result of a helicopter crash during his tour in Iraq that required his leg to be amputated. He continued his military service following his injury as a Senior Operations Officer for the Joint Special Operations Command and later with the U.S. Northern Command.
Despite his injuries, Nyman became a skilled mountaineer and had scaled some of the world's largest peaks during the past 10 years, including Denali and Kilimanjaro. He was featured in a 2012 documentary that followed 11 veterans as they climbed the Himalayan Mount LoBuche. He was well-known in the adaptive climbing community and also took on a wide variety of philanthropic pursuits.
If you're inspired by Nyman's life lived well, let us know in the comments how you'll celebrate life today.