Welcome, We’ve got a lot to show you

Vertical Solutions leads the evolution of indoor rock climbing by designing, building, and delivering stunning, world-class rock climbing gyms that are Never The Same. Through our passion and expertise in climbing-culture creation, we provide a variety of deliverables that position these facilities as community anchors and focal points for outdoor enthusiasts. We at the very core, are a one-stop provider of everything you need for success in the climbing gym industry. We are uniquely positioned to deliver this success for our clients due to the depth and breadth of our company’s offerings, the unbelievable talent of our team, and our passion to fuel the continued growth of our industry as a whole.

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We are headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. We don’t say this as an “oh by the way”; we mention this immediately for a very specific reason. You’re probably already knowledgeable about rock climbing, so it’s no surprise when you hear that Salt Lake is one of the few rock climbing epicenters in the world. We are immersed in climbing culture from every angle, both outside and indoors. We’re proud to be from here. Salt Lake is a source of inspiration every day, as it constantly reminds us of how exciting and rewarding our industry is. It's where we grow. It’s where we’ve formed close industry relationships with other leading climbing companies having roots here. It’s a community we are not only part of, but we also serve with multiple climbing gyms. It fuels our ability to continue producing unique products and designs for our clients that are Never The Same

Many of our competitors can’t claim this. They don’t have the same heritage and fuel that we have. And as you will see throughout the website, it’s the foundation for what differentiates us from everyone else. You can see this in every bit of work we complete worldwide.

Get to know us.
  • We are just like you. No, really. We started as passionate climbers who were excited about the community and wanted to do everything we could to preserve and advance it. But we had an idea focused on doing something differently. We didn’t mean to set out and build the nation’s leading climbing gym company; it was simply the result of having no company to build what we wanted to build. So we set out to do it ourselves. Apparently people liked what we had to show, because by word of mouth, people sought us out to do what we already proved we could: separate new climbing gyms from the rest of the accepted “norm,” and create authentic communities that are Never The Same as ones found elsewhere.

    We’ve been where you are, at this very moment. We’ve stood in your shoes and faced the challenges you face. And we are the type of company that will go to great lengths to secure your business success.

  • We are the only climbing wall builder in the industry that can deliver everything you need from soup to nuts, none of which will be the same as other projects found elswhere. This means you can have one point of contact through the entire process, from getting funded, to building the gym we design with you, to training your staff for your grand opening and running a comp. We do this, so we can facilitate your success as a business owner from all angles, and to align your business with the community you are trying to reach. We don’t want to leave any holes in your plan, and as owner/operators of multiple climbing gyms, we can deliver an authentic formula for a comprehensive winning strategy. No one else can provide all of this attention to detail and craftsmanship, let alone as a turn-key solution. We deliver on your vision without wavering.

  • We are Never the Same. We do things differently than a lot of our competitors, and as a result, we are not a lot of things that they are. First of all, we pride ourselves on not being imported. We employ hard working Americans that are meticulous, and strive to deliver the best quality possible. So we aren’t mass produced, and as a result we aren’t a “one-size” solution that targets a specific type of climbing audience; we design and create climbing spaces that are for all outdoor enthusiasts and the lifestyles they lead. We aren’t the type of business that will give you the same product that we gave another client because we aren’t interested in taking on projects that aren’t unique in one way shape or form. We aren’t just going to sell you a climbing wall either, because we provide so much more. We typically aren’t the cheapest option and we won’t conceal that by bringing you in with a low bid and then raising the price throughout the project or rush jobs to increase our profitability. Most importantly, we aren’t willing to jeopardize your business success by delivering anything short of phenomenal.


Our Team

Dustin Buckthal


  • Successful Entrepreneur
  • Private Investment Expert
  • Business Operations

Dustin’s passion for climbing businesses came while pursuing a PhD in Chemistry at the University of Utah, after graduating with B.S. degrees in Mathematics and Biochemistry. His entry into the climbing industry came by way of owning, operating, and growing three climbing gyms in the Intermountain West. Not satisfied with ‘good enough’, he sought to establish a business that could create authentic climbing cultures everywhere, just as he did with his own gyms. Dustin now heads multiple climbing industry businesses, focusing on products like flooring and holds, training and physical therapy, and creating and operating gyms.

John Stack


  • Ex. Pro-Climber
  • Steel and Wood Expert
  • Manufacturing

As a pro-climber on the PCA circuit, John competed for 10 years while also gaining an intimate understanding about the climbing industry. Targeting ways that he could impact the future of the industry for years after, John set his creativity loose and his sights on changing the environments and spaces in which climbing communities focused so much of their time. He quickly became a master carpenter and expert metal fabricator and it was John’s love for impeccable woodworking detail that created the vision that led to VS best being known for aesthetically curved, and incredibly durable climbing wall construction.

Our team is what drives the success of not only our company, but our clients. We recognize that we would not be anywhere close to where we are today without the collective abilities of our inteliigent, passionate, creative, and extremely dedicated employees. We started this business with a singular focus on climbing walls but it was recognizing the talent within our team and their capacity to push for more, that led to Vertical Solutions being a full climbing gym solution provider.

When you choose to work with Vertical Solutions, you are developing long-term relationships with many members of our company that you can rely on professionally, and also personally. No matter the size of your project, you will be treated as one of our family. So when you get introduced, here are some ice breakers to get the conversation started:

  • Shad Burnham

    • Sales Director
    • 10 years of extensive experience in all aspects of the climbing gym industry: Everything from retail sales, buying, event planning & management, gym management, business consultation, and a little manual labor for good measure
    • Works closely with clients on Business Consultation packages and climbing wall projects
    • An experienced alpinist and mountain biker, Shad quotes that his performance is ‘equally poor at all his outdoor pursuits’
    • Works for Vertical Solutions because he’s a go-getter entrepreneur that thrives off of building start-up businesses with others
  • Brandon Gonsalves

    • Habit Flooring Program Director
    • Works hands-on with every flooring project we tackle
    • Over a decade of product design and manufacturing experience
    • Founded and managed a soft goods design and sourcing firm
    • An adventure addict, he is often caught BASE jumping, riding motos in the desert, mountain biking, or of course, climbing on his mellow days
    • Works at Vertical Solutions because it blends his passion for climbing and intelligent product design using extensive material research and manufacturing techniques
  • Clayton Leuba

    • Sales Associate
    • Utah State University
    • Works with all clients on projects in their early-stages
    • Lives a mobile climbing lifestyle
    • Has been enjoying all disciplines of climbing for 8 years— except for speed climbing, he’s just not that into it
    • Works for Vertical Solutions because it allows him to continue developing strong relationships in national climbing communities and fuels his passion for the industry
  • Dan Ruch

    • Director of Business Intelligence and Analytics
    • Boston University
    • Works behind the scenes on VS business optimization and analytical tools for data-driven customer applications
    • Previously has worked as a chemist, rock climbing guide, sea urchin fisherman (long story), whiskey distiller/production manager, and database architect
    • When not at work, spends his time climbing, trail running, mountain biking, backcountry skiing, fly fishing, and exploring Utah’s mountains and deserts with his wife and two dogs
    • Works for Vertical Solutions because the company was founded by serious climbers, a passion for the outdoors and the unique culture of the climbing community are evident in every project, and every project walks the line between climbing gym, art project, and community hub
  • Jaime Garza

    • Design Manager
    • University of Utah
    • Works with climbing wall clients to bring their vision to reality through 3D modeling
    • Has designed over 30 climbing gyms/projects
    • Personally passionate about all types of climbing and outdoor exploration
    • A soon-to-be father
    • Works at Vertical Solutions because here he is able to fulfill his passions for creating authentic architecture with clean lines and heavy social interaction, for a community he is proud to be a part of
  • Andrew Knuth

    • Designer
    • University of Kansas
    • Works with clients on project details, and intricate customization of designs
    • An Iowa native, but has been drawn to exploring the mountains for over 15 years
    • Backcountry skiing and rock climbing has been his jam for over 10 years
    • Works for Vertical Solutions because he excels at tackling interesting design projects from start to finish, and considers this the perfect mixture of business and pleasure every single day
  • Derek Foote

    • Production, Manufacturing & Shop Manager
    • Climbing industry professional with 10 years experience
    • Works closely with design team for smooth project builds and to navigate unforeseen construction hurdles
    • Has excelled at a variety of roles from route setting and gym management, to wall building and client management
    • An enthusiastic climber, fly fisher, and general outdoor enthusiast
    • Met his wonderful wife while building Ground Up Climbing Center in Squamish
    • Works for Vertical Solutions because he finds inspiration in leading the construction process and contributing to beautiful and functional products for people just like himself
  • James Mobley

    • Construction Foreman & Crew Manager
    • Climbing industry professional with 20+ years experience in a variety of roles from route setting, climbing hold manufacturing, store operations, sales, wall building, and building client relationships
    • Travels from job to job to work directly on-site with clients for smooth project builds and efficiently navigates through unforeseen construction situations
    • Father of two boys that are his everything, his rock, and inspiration, who have grown into young men entirely to quick
    • Avid climber for over 20 years (Sport, Trad, & Bouldering) and general outdoor enthusiast
    • Works for Vertical Solutions because he is passionate about supporting the growth of the climbing industry and local climbing communities and because he loves bringing clients' dreams to life from raw materials
  • Jenni Johnson

    • Human Resources Manager
    • Works with candidates for employment in all departments, and manages company culture
    • Has worked in a number of different industries and for various companies, as well as owning her own small business
    • Born and raised in Salt Lake City, with a 10 year hiatus spent in Southern California
    • When not climbing with her two boys, you can find her doing yoga, camping, hiking, SUP’ing or on a lake, traveling, or sipping whiskey or wine!
    • Works at Vertical Solutions because she enjoys our community, and loves working with fearless, passionate and driven people who enjoy life and make me laugh
  • Blair Sonnen

    • Marketing Director
    • Philadelphia University
    • Works with clients to introduce them to our products and services, and support their business development efforts with marketing materials
    • Previously worked for a decade in the motorsport industry as a design engineer and in various marketing roles, as well as a public relations manager in the consumer electronics industry
    • A Utah transplant in 2009, he quickly adopted the outdoor lifestyle becoming an avid mountain biker, backcountry skier, trail runner, and climber, while also infrequently suffering through his favorite exercise in misery: alpinism
    • Works for Vertical Solutions because he’s worked in fast-paced jobs; corporate jobs; traveling jobs; small, medium & large businesses; and none of them come close to providing the right quality of life with professional responsibility like VS does


  • Michael Cesari
    Steep Rock Bouldering

    The team at Vertical Solutions was integral to our success as a climbing gym. As an owner of multiple businesses, I was confident in our plan and strategy, but I absolutely needed a rock climbing gym designer and builder to execute on time and on budget. Setbacks in our market are extremely hard to recover from. From day one, the VS team was on the same page with me and was incredibly easy to work with. They adapted to everything that they were challenged with and the result was outstanding! Our customers are psyched to be climbing on such beautiful walls, and we have unique hardwood features that really set us apart in their minds. With the success of this gym, we are considering another and if we pull the trigger, we will be going with Vertical Solutions again.

  • Lauren Watson
    Ground Up Climbing

    When setting out to build a rock climbing gym, it's important to have an experienced team in your corner. As gym owners and Climbers themselves, VS matched our passion for the project, showed patience and shared expertise and professional opinion throughout both the design and build phase. They understood our values and drive to build a gym that would last through the ages and showed integrity from beginning to end. The whole process felt less like a business transaction and more like a collaboration and their help didn't stop at walls. Their team never hesitated to share their experience in community building, management systems and other integral components to building a successful business. They were professional, on time and very easy to work with. We would recommend them for any project you want to pour your soul into, they will take very good care of it.

  • Jason Mullins
    The Bloc

    We already owned a rope climbing facility in our city when we decided to pursue a new bouldering gym for our community. We wanted to keep the culture and vibe similar between the two locations, while also giving our customers something completely new they have never seen before; something they could get stoked on. So we took a look around at who was really standing out from the crowd, and Vertical Solutions' body of work really impressed us. They built our bouldering facility and consulted with us on a number of different things in order to keep our customers interested and safe. It could not have worked out any better. I would recommend using them without hesitation based on my experience. 

  • Angel Mangual
    CIBA Climbing Center

    We wanted a small climbing gym to serve our small but dedicated community in Arizona, and really didn’t know where to start or how to target profitability. It was clear to us that we would get a full package of consulting, products, and services by partnering with Vertical Solutions. The team sat down and consulted with us on how to get the business plan funded, the gym designed and built, how much bouldering flooring & impact protection we needed, how much exercise space to have, what programming to offer, how to vet and hire staff, and much more to the point of making our indoor climbing gym business turn-key. For us, this was imperative and it’s hard to think of doing it without them. At the end of the day we were left with a beautiful, American-built facility that exceeded all of our needs and our customers’ expectations.

  • Lance Pinn
    Brooklyn Boulders

    From the inception of Brooklyn Boulders we have always thought bigger than our competitors. Our business model differs from the standard climbing gym offering, and we needed to partner with a team that understood our large, ambitious vision, and could adapt to the challenges presented by working in the most densely populated urban environments out there. We operate multiple gyms in top-10 DMAs, where it’s easy to become background noise, lose the public’s  attention, and generally grow stale. So it was critical that we leveraged our wall builder to always design and deliver something unique to our brand, because our customers expect high-end experiences and environments. Vertical Solutions is the only company that had the meticulous attention to detail, and unwavering dedication to craftsmanship to pull it off, in every city.

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