This business opened in 2008, just before the recession took hold.
This wasn't the first time the owner of Rise Up Climbing has gone through an economic downturn, but every time he's managed, literally, to hang on by his fingertips.
"Each of these climbs is a puzzle to figure out," explained Rise Up Climbing owner Dan Hague as he maneuvered his way up an indoor rock wall. "A series of movements and sequences, that maybe aren't evident by just looking at the holds."
For Dan Hague, business is much like climbing: a carefully planned and maneuvered climb to the top of the industry. He opened Rise Up Climbing in Lynchburg in 2008.
"Climbing is my passion," said Hague.
But the move Hague didn't see coming was a down-turn in the economy. After a profitable first year, the gym was in trouble.
"In the middle of that struggle I was questioning my judgment in opening a gym here, because if the volume stayed at that level, we weren't going to make it," remembers Hague.
In February and March of 2009, Rise Up Climbing saw clients dwindle to just half the number of climbers as one year before. A gym membership was a luxury many customers could no longer afford.
"I just went through the budget here and slashed everything I could," said Hague of his business model to ride-out the storm.
It was something he learned in previous business ventures. Hague had opened a gym in D.C. just months before the "dot com" bubble burst, then another just two months before 9/11.
"You can't be in the type of climbing that I'm in, which requires multiple attempts up the same path up the wall, without being able to persevere through frustration and disappointment and failure," explained Hague.
In recent months, business has started to pick back up; partially due to smart business decisions but also because of his client's dedication to the sport.
"What keeps me coming back is climbing to the next level and the next level and the next level," explained customer Robby Ibrahim, who's been climbing for one year.
"It's a great way to get a workout," said 10-year climbing veteran Massey Teel.
"I like it because it's a challenge. But I think it's just something different for Lynchburg," said Debbie Hendrickson, who's been climbing at Rise Up since it first opened.
The gym has benefited from that dedication. Many customers say they don't see climbing as a luxury, easily cut from their budget. They say it's more of a life style.
"That's the thing about climbers, it's such a passion for many of us that people in Blacksburg, Roanoke, Charlottesville will find us," said Hague of his expanding client base. Many climbers drive for several hours to make the trip to the gym.
For now, Hague is cautiously optimistic.
"We're encouraged. We've put some money in the bank, but I would not say we are out of the woods," he said.
He's hoping business will hold steady and just maybe continue to climb.