Often times when life is at its worst, someone comes along to bring out your best.

Paul Guarino and his two business partners had big plans when they took over Ascend Climbing Gym in Boardman.

"In 2019 this gym was built and the owner needed to pass the baton," said Guarino. "Felt like it was a good opportunity for us. Three months later the pandemic happened."

That, combined with ongoing construction along Western Reserve Road, sent them tumbling down the crag.
They soon announced the gym would close.

But for Josh Boyle, the end meant the beginning.

"My wife and I reached out immediately to be like 'hey is there any way to partner and keep it going?'" Boyle said. He and three other climbing enthusiasts poured their resources together to save Ascend from descending into failure.
They'll take over April 1 under the name Climb Youngstown.

"I started climbing when I was about five years old...been a part of my life ever since," says Cale Mitchell, an avid climber and one of Boyle's partners.
For him, climbing is an appropriate metaphor for life and for this gym.

"You're going to make lifelong friends and you know, can't go wrong with doing one of the most incredibly fit things you can do," Mitchell said.

And so Thursday's climbing party first planned as a goodbye became a celebration.

"We're going to work together, we want to train their staff as much as possible, set them up for success," said Guarino.

Success that's sure to conquer this mountain of adversity.