BY LAURELLE WALSH
Mountain climber, professional guide, author, motivational speaker and personal coach Matt Walker believes that life is meant to be an adventure. His Winthrop-based company, Inner Passage, provides outdoor programs, expeditions and workshops that are designed to bring his five elements of adventure – high endeavor, uncertain outcome, total commitment, tolerance for adversity and great companionship – into everyday life.
“The goal of our programs is not just to learn climbing, but to take those skills and apply them to the rest of our lives, such as in relationships, parenting and at work,” Walker said.
Inner Passage runs programs in the Methow Valley, the western United States and as far away as Africa and Europe. Walker, who runs the company out of his garage office in Winthrop, says it is a unique business model for the Methow: He lives and runs programs from here, uses local talent, services and accommodations, and brings clients and organizations such as Amazon and Microsoft to the valley to do professional development courses.
The company has recently begun offering climbing programs for athletes with disabilities, and its nonprofit arm, the Inner Passage Foundation, has launched a January 2014 expedition to Tanzania’s Mt. Kilimanjaro for six disabled climbers “with three legs between them,” Walker said.
A crowd-funding campaign on indiegogo.com has until July 27 to raise the $60,000 which will cover all the expedition’s costs including airfare for the participants. The URL innerpassagefoundation.net directs donors to the fundraising site.
Walker has a master’s degree in behavioral science and is the author of Adventure in Everything: How the Five Elements of Adventure Create a Life of Authenticity, Purpose and Inspiration. He has given two readings at Trail’s End Bookstore in Winthrop and plans to give a slide show presentation of next winter’s Kilimanjaro trip when they return in spring of 2014.