How do I determine if building a climbing gym in a chosen market is the right decision?
Spend some time with an experienced climbing gym operator. Get to understand the day-to-day operations and what it feels like to be in this type of business. There are many established gyms around the country. Even if you pay for that service it will go a long way in educating you on what you are getting into.
Once you have decided that this is the business for you, then do research on your market. What is the population within a 10 mile radius from the site; what is the average household income; is it an outdoor active population (Boulder, CO vs. Lubbock, TX); How many climbing clubs, outdoor clubs are in the area; how much outdoor gear is sold in that area? These are good questions to start with. Once you start drilling down in the info you will learn more about whether the project is feasible or not.