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ASCEND Expansion Projects

ASCEND has many goals, one of which is to provide access to climbing, fitness, yoga, amenities and programming to as many residents as possible in the areas in which we serve. This can only be accomplished by expanding our footprint, both geographically and facility square footage. We also see immense value in providing details to the public about ongoing projects, as soon as we are responsibly able to do so. See below for more information on some exciting projects we are busy working on!

NEW PROJECTS

  • ASCEND Point Breeze
  • ASCEND Erie
  • ASCEND Bridgeville

FACILITY UPGRADES

  • ASCEND Youngstown
  • ASCEND Pittsburgh

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ASCEND Point Breeze [new project]

ASCEND is thrilled to announce, nay, exuberant, nay, there is not a perfect word to describe how we are feeling at this moment, but here goes nothing. The ASCEND Climbing family is about to get a lot bigger with a new location planned for early-mid 2022 in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Point Breeze. This 25,000 sq. ft. facility that is part of the Rockwell Park development will feature 42’ lead climbing, top-roping, and auto-belay walls, ample bouldering terrain, a tranquil yoga room, an array of fitness equipment and climbing training tools, slacklines, a retail store featuring today's most trusted brands, your favorite concessions, modern restrooms with showers, changing areas, and gender neutral options, comfortable lounge space to relax, work, and socialize, and of course, tons of glass - natural light! This facility will be designed to suit all types of climbers - beginners, outdoor crushers, competitors, those who have adaptive needs, groups, youth and families - you name it, we got you. We have so much more to share with you in due time, like final designs and an overall timeline, but we know you will have tons of questions right now, so let’s try and address the big ones here:

    • Isn’t that really close The Climbing Wall (TCW)? Yes, it is, and this aspect of the project is arguably the most important thing to us. Pittsburgh climbers owe so much to TCW for steadily serving the community for nearly the last 30 years. The three founders of ASCEND and many of its investors all met climbing there, the local climbing culture started and fostered there, and ultimately the technical walls of the New River Gorge didn’t stand a chance thanks to this Pittsburgh training ground. While final details are still in the works, know that both companies care deeply about the community and we are working together to create the best possible outcome for all. Here's what we (the owners of ASCEND + TCW) are able to share now:
      • Over the past few years, TCW has been unable to make the necessary changes to its business model in order to ensure a lasting operation.
      • With ASCEND being presented with the opportunity to build a new gym in Point Breeze, the two ownership teams began to seek an amenable solution together.
      • ASCEND has agreed to an asset purchase agreement, in which TCW will continue to operate in the existing space until ASCEND Point Breeze opens, at which time TCW will cease operations.
      • Starting now and continuing through the time that TCW closes, TCW and ASCEND will work together to foster an inclusive climbing community from members of both gyms. This might be accomplished via member swaps, gatherings, and other intentional events.
      • ASCEND is eager to discuss employment opportunities with all TCW staff who are interested, and provide professional development opportunities in the meanwhile, such as routesetting or coaching clinics.
      • ASCEND has agreed to honor all existing TCW memberships when they open for business.
    • Will South Side and Youngstown members get access? Yes, absolutely! All ASCEND members have global access to any ASCEND facility. Punch Passes may also be used at all locations, as well as gift cards!
    • What will you call it and how will it be differentiated from the South Side location? Great question, and one we've thought long and hard about. ASCEND Pittsburgh will become the overarching name for ASCEND locations within the Pittsburgh region, and so the specific neighborhood name will become very important so we don't get confused. Think of it like this:
        • ASCEND Pittsburgh
          • ASCEND South Side
          • ASCEND Point Breeze
          • ASCEND Bridgeville
        • ASCEND Youngstown
        • ASCEND Erie
        • ASCEND Aruba (jk, but that would be cool)

ASCEND Erie [new project]

We are VERY EXCITED to announce that ASCEND ERIE is officially in the works and estimated to be open late 2022/early 2023! Just like all other ASCEND Climbing facilities, all ASCEND members have global access to any ASCEND facility. Punch Passes may also be used at all locations, as well as gift cards!

  • Here are the details you crave - 26,000 SF (bottom three floors of a 5-story ASCEND / residential building), bouldering terrain, 45’ tall rope walls (lead, top-rope, auto-belay), yoga classes and workshops, fitness and training areas, youth programming, slacklines, retail and concessions, group spaces, community events - the whole lot! In partnership with the EDDC, it will be located in the heart of downtown Erie at 5th and State, near Gannon University and Penn State Behrend, and is part of an extensive downtown revitalization project that the Erie community is incredibly excited for. Additionally, there has been an independent group, Climb Erie, working on opening a gym for many years now. As a prominent Erie climbing community voice, they are stoked to learn of our plans and are eager to assist in ASCEND's efforts. We are grateful to have the ClimbERIE team on our side, keeping the climbers of Erie in the forefront of everything we do. This is not just another gym to add to a list, this will be a place for a whole community of people, old and young, new and experienced, to gather, train, coexist, and to call home. Watch this video for more on ASCEND Erie. Here is a letter explaining more from their founder, David Bonner:

Open letter to the Erie climbing Community,

First of all, we want to thank you all for your support in our efforts to bring Erie its first ever indoor climbing facility. We have seen an overwhelming response from many and it has kept us motivated throughout these difficult times. Not only has the pandemic slowed our progress, but lack of available commercial property has not helped. Our community has been through it all and remains supportive and positive. We are excited for the next phase. Our partnership with ASCEND Climbing has allowed us to finally move forward and build the climbing gym that Erie truly deserves.

Common values and vision have evolved into this collaboration between ClimbERIE and ASCEND and ASCEND Erie will be the product. Our focus is on creating a community. Not just of climbers, but all residents of the Erie area. ASCEND Erie will be a place that this great city will be proud of, as a business, as a landmark, and as a champion for the city itself. Our name may not be ClimbERIE, but the values and dedication to the community remain. That spirit that has encouraged and motivated us through the last three years will always remain at the heart of ASCEND Erie and we look forward to serving you for years to come. Thank you!

Respectfully,
ClimbERIE/ASCEND Erie

ASCEND Bridgeville [new project]

We'll be the first to admit frustration and disappointment with the delayed timeline for ASCEND Bridgeville. We signed a lease in January of 2019 and planned to be open in early 2020, but we all know that hasn't happened according to plan. Nonetheless, we continue to edge that project forward! We are still 100% committed to bringing ASCEND to the southern suburbs of Pittsburgh. As more information becomes available and the timeline comes into clarity, we will update this section accordingly.

ASCEND Youngstown [expansion]

Delayed by the pandemic, we are quite excited to get back to expanding the footprint of ASCEND Youngstown - roughly doubling it in size! This includes adding a fitness area, yoga room, and multi-purpose space. More details to come soon, but we plan on getting to work over the summer and phasing parts in as soon as they are ready. Additionally, we hope that ASCEND Youngstown climbers enjoy the recently installed air conditioning and upgraded heating system!

ASCEND Pittsburgh - South Side [upgrade]

ASCEND South Side's fitness and training areas are currently being modified to better suit our guests' needs. This may take a few months, but we're excited to breathe some new life into our training zone and provide optimal equipment and terrain for all to enjoy!