COLORADO SPRINGS — CityRock has been a staple in downtown Colorado Springs for 11 years, but the climbing gym's story dates back much further.
The year was 2003. Lara and Joe met at a local bar called Shugas in Colorado Springs. Lara was an army veteran who was training to make the U.S. Olympic Pentathlon team. Joe was a mechanical engineer.
“He was wearing cowboy boots, and he said he wanted to quit his job and sail around the world, and to me, I liked the sailing part because I grew up in South, Texas, sailing looking for little sunfish, but the quitting the job sounded a little bit risky,” said Lara Grosjean, CityROCK’s co-owner.
Risky as he was, there was something about Joe that Lara admired deeply and the two decided to get married the following year.
“Now one thing Joe and Lara didn’t know and didn’t expect was decide to open up a climbing gym. Neither of them had too much experience when it comes to rock climbing but they did agree on one thing- and that’s that they were both unhappy with their current careers, he was a mechanical engineer, and she needed a job at the time so they decided, “Why not just take a leap of faith and give it a shot?” And they’re just so happy that they did.”
“There are risks associated with becoming an entrepreneur, but I love coming to my job every day and if you’re going to have a job for twenty, twenty-five years, for many years, you might as well have one that you like driving to, not one that you’re dreading to every morning,” said Joe Grosjean, CityROCK’s co-owner.
But opening the doors to CityRock took a long time, a time that involved trial and error. The couple first opened up a starter gym in Monument before closing its doors. The recession was in full swing when the pair found themselves looking for a new building for their business. That’s when they stumbled upon the Ute-70 Theater in downtown Colorado Springs.
“And so we started leasing it and turned it into the first version of CityRock, and we’ve gone through several...anyone who has been here knows we are constantly reinventing it,” said Lara.
The coupled opened up CityRock in 2009. After much success, the pair completed the second part of their dream- they sailed the world with their three children, just in time before more chaos. In 2020, the couple was sailing the Atlantic when they got word of covid-19.
“I think we’re finding like most married couples, it’s not always easy and certainly traveling around the world on a sailboat with three children has its challenges but we both embrace that. We both like that element of struggle,” said Lara.
A struggle that the beauty of rock-climbing embraces.
“There are these parts where you think you’re not going to be able to overcome it and if you stay the course, and believe and continue to love, then you get t