Grand Opening Party & Dyno Competition

ASCEND hosted its awesome Grand Opening Party on Saturday, July 8th, 2017. Since opening in March 2017, the community support has been humbling. This occasion was 1.) an excuse to have a party, 2.) our way of saying thank you to both our members and community.

The day featured engaging games and activities for all ages related to climbing, fitness, and yoga, including indoor and outdoor fun, friendly and fun mini-competitions, food trucks, local beverages, retailer demos, giveaways, and more!

Let me set the scene:

The air was filled with a feeling of the eve of a religiously nonspecific holiday that often includes showering family and friends with gifts. The entire ASCEND team had spent Friday cleaning, setting routes, and ironing out details for the next morning - all while having NO IDEA what to expect from the day. Paul finally okayed the prep work - so of course - we ended the evening hurling ourselves at the dynos that had been set earlier in the day. There were also tacos.  Psych was obviously pretty high.

11 am Saturday morning brought an impressive amount of people through the door. We were happy to host about 700 people throughout the day! It was impossible to feel anything other than excitement and anticipation for ASCEND, for the climbing community in Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh itself.

Aside from the day being a big thank you, the secondary focus was the Dyno Competition.  For those of you that dont know, a dyno is an all out leap during which the whole body is airborne and you, very briefly, have no points of contact to the object you're climbing. So you jump and completely let go? Yeah. Sounds crazy, right?


The first portion of the competition involved 2 hours of participants gathering as many point as possible by completing problems around the gym that were assigned point values. The bigger the dyno, the more points earned. Top 5 men & women moved on to the FINALS Round.

Just before the finals round, a special guest arrived. To the joy of anyone who knows what a meme is, someone dressed in a t-rex costume sent a V0-V1 while the crowd cheered between fits of laughter. Somehow, the dinosaur became the unofficial mascot of the day. Unfortunately, it didn’t complete any actual dynos, but just take a second to imagine climbing anything with that head-to-arm ratio. Rough.

The finals round was epic. Everyone in the building was locked on to the competitors, who kept the crowd's attention with both their teamwork and performance.


Women's Finalists           

Erika Giuse: CMU student hailing from Nashville, TN. Also a baby at 19 years old. 

Ivana Hetrick: Does web stuff for Highmark, originially from Chambersburg PA. 

Sarah Albani: Dental Student, Current Pittsburgh resident, orginially from Boardman, Ohio. TOOK THE FIRST PLACE FINISH!

Ariel Ott: Routesetter at ASCEND, from the PNW, headed to Spain.

Jenna St. Jermaine: Flashed Flooring expert out of Houston, TX. 


Men's Finalists

Kerrek Stinson: CMU student from somewhere in the middle of nowhere. TOOK THE FIRST PLACE FINISH!

Nikolay Karamov: Knocks out one arm pullups like they're nothing. 

Will Butt: Flashed Flooring expert, climbing photographer

Max Snyder: Butora Athlete from Emmaus, PA.

Jackson Tankersley: Evolv Athlete, Rock Mill Athlete, lives in Akron, OH.


Overall, prizes were won, fun was had, dynos were sent, old climbers came out of the woodwork, new climbers fell in love, & we’re all still riding on the high, over a month later.


For more photos, check out the facebook album here, or watch the video below!




Additional Thanks to our Retail Vendors & food trucks!

Food: Harris GrillEdgar’s Best TacosButcher on ButlerSticklers Ice Pops

Retail: Organic Climbing, Friction Labs, Friendly Foot, Neon Climbing, Butora, Evolv, Barnana, Rock Candy Holds, Chakstone, Vigilant Eats, Blume Honey Water