On a mission to serve and grow Chicago's vibrant climbing community.

Coronavirus Closure Update: March 23rd, 2020

Dear FAmily,

We are overwhelmed and deeply humbled by how you and the First Ascent community stepped up to support us and our staff.

Over 90% of First Ascent members stayed active in March.  With your support, we were able to pay our staff through March 31st.  

THANK YOU from all of us at First Ascent! You are a part of a truly powerful community. You made a real, tangible impact, and we are incredibly grateful.

Many of you have asked how you can continue to support First Ascent. Click below to learn more about how you can lend your support during the extended closures.

Support First Ascent

Given the current status of COVID-19 in Illinois, all First Ascent gyms will remain closed until at least April 7th. We will re-open as soon as it is legal, safe, and responsible for us to do so. The exact date we will open our doors again remains uncertain, but we will be sure to keep you updated along the way.

When the pandemic subsides, we want First Ascent to be ready for you to climb and connect, and for our staff to have a place to work. We are fighting to keep as many staff on payroll for as long as we can while at the same time paying significant expenses such as rent and loans. 

Since the closure has extended, we have decided to furlough most of our part-time staff and some full-time staff starting April 1st. This decision was heart wrenching, but we made it knowing that it ultimately serves our staff best – most will receive more income from unemployment insurance than we can offer them during the extended closure. 

The First Ascent founders are foregoing 100% of our pay during the closure so we can pay more staff. 

We need your help: if you are financially able, please click below to continue your membership to support First Ascent. The more members that stay on with us, the more staff we can keep on to create live-streamed classes and content, provide member communication, and pitch in to help us prepare for re-opening. 

Support First Ascent

We would greatly appreciate anything you can contribute. We’ve got some great ideas for how to say “thank you!” to everyone who maintains an active membership during the crisis, and we can’t wait to celebrate with you once we’ve made it through this thing.

We also understand that this is a time of financial uncertainty for many of you. If we don’t receive a response from members by March 30th, we will assume you would like your membership to go on hold starting April 1st. 

We will automatically freeze Monthly Memberships for free until we open our doors, and we will extend all Annual and One-month Memberships for the amount of time we are closed. If you would prefer to make another change to your membership, you can complete the Membership Change form here.

Social distancing may have altered the way we commune, but it cannot and will not weaken this community.

We truly are stronger together, and we will get through this together. Thank you for your continued support!

Be well,

Dan, Joe, Jon, and Dave | the First Ascent founders

Coronavirus Closure Announcement

Dear FAmily member, 

With heavy hearts, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to close all First Ascent locations from Tuesday, March 17th until Tuesday, March 31st to do our part to protect our community in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The health and wellness of our community is at the heart of our mission. We know that climbing and connecting with others is an enormous part of your well-being; the same is true of us and our staff. We wanted to stay open for our community during this crisis, but after carefully monitoring the spread of COVID-19, we believe that temporary closure is best for the community at large.

We are committed to continue paying our staff during the closure. FA Members: those of you who are financially able, please consider keeping your membership active during the crisis.  First Ascent is a locally owned business with limited resources, and your continued support will help us care for our staff and bounce back when the crisis is over. 

If you are unable to keep your membership, we understand. We will issue a credit for the time we are closed to any member who requests it via the Membership Change form at Credits can be issued immediately, applied to the next month’s membership dues, or added as a membership extension for One-month and Annual Members. Please be patient while we process your request.

We plan to re-open on Wednesday April 1st, but much is still uncertain, so we will update you as the situation unfolds. Starting Thursday March 19th, staff will be available at each FA location to answer questions or help you retrieve any items you left in the gym – keep an eye out for the schedule coming shortly. We will deep clean each facility before we re-open our doors so we can all have a fresh start when this crisis is over. If you have any questions or concerns in the meantime, please fill out our Contact Us form and we’ll be happy to answer them.

Lastly, we want to encourage you to take care of yourself and others in the midst of this challenging moment.  If you are able, look out for elderly neighbors or others who self-quarantine and need support with groceries or other items. Support other local businesses if you can; we know they feel the impact. And take time to express love, gratitude, and words of affirmation to those around you.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your support, patience, and understanding during this trying time, and most of all, thank you for being a part of the First Ascent community.

Much feels uncertain right now, but one thing is certain: a rope of many strands is not easily broken. We will get through this – together. And we look forward to climbing with you again soon.

Be well.

~Dan, Joe, Jon, & Dave | The First Ascent founders