The dream for Ascend Pittsburgh was conceived among three climbing friends who saw a need for a top-notch climbing gym in the Pittsburgh region. Ascend also wanted to focus on building community among climbers in Western PA. It took more than five years of determined effort and planning to make the dream happen.

Ascend approached Cultivate to help them develop the brand’s foundation that would allow their gym to be a true third place where people come to not only climb and do yoga, but to be a part of a community of people with a common purpose and interest. To facilitate this, we took them through Our Core Story process.

The Process.

To start we established a Core Story Wheel to help guide the process.
And then we met. And discussed. And debated. For many hours.

The Core Story

The result was a rich Core Story document that would be used to guide many of the decisions Ascend had in front of them—including everything from how much to charge for memberships to how employees would be trained. The document helped illuminate seemingly small decisions that together created Ascend's brand and the culture of the gym.

The Results.

Ascend Pittsburgh opened to much excitement in the Pittsburgh community. After only a few months of being open, Ascend already has more than 600 members and has over 30 5-star reviews on Google. Member and visitor reviews frequently mention qualities that have been intentionally designed as part of the gym's culture, such as being an inviting place for all ages and the huge variety of workout options available.