The Peter Terbush Story

"Greater love has no one than this,
that he lay down his life for his friends."

- Jesus Christ

  The rock slide that killed Peter Terbush.

Kevin Worrall reported in CLIMBING No. 188 the following. . .

On Sunday, June 13, 1999, Peter Terbush and two friends, identified only as Kerry and Joseph, were climbing in cool evening temperatures on Yosemite's Glacier Point Apron. Terbush belayed as Kerry led the Apron Jam, a 5.9 corner often used to approach Mr. Natural, a popular 5.10c thin crack. Terbush (belaying) and Joseph were on the ground when an estimated 150 to 200 tons of granite suddenly cut loose from approximately 1000 feet above. Kerry, leading some 60 feet off the ground, looked up to see car-sized boulders careening down the slabs. As granite exploded all around them, Joseph fled the onslaught, and Peter Terbush stood his ground belaying while Kerry attempted to place an anchor. Miraculously, both Joseph and Kerry survived with minor injuries, but Terbush, 21, of Gunnison, Colorado, was killed instantly.

Peter’s Father, Dr. James Terbush shared at his Memorial Service . . .

As rocks and boulders the size of Volkswagens began tumbling down a rock chute, Joe took cover away from the exploding rocks. The place where Joe was sitting, and where his sweater remains, is covered with a huge boulder. Rock shrapnel was everywhere. Pete, as belayer, pulled into the arrest position expecting Kerry to fall. He leaned away, but did not flee to the cover of a nearby protecting boulder. He could easily have done so, but would have lost control of the belay. The noise was deafening. Granite dust filled the air.

Peter Terbush

When the rocks stopped falling, approximately 30 seconds, the young men began calling to each other through the dust. Joe found Peter, still in the arrest position holding the rope attached to Kerry above. He had been killed by the rock shrapnel from a falling boulder. Pete’s hands were fixed and in position, his left hand on the rope above and his right pulled down hard against his right hip loading the rope before the belay device fixed to the harness at his waist. Kerry yelled at Joe to go get help for Pete, but Joe could tell Pete had been killed instantly. In order to get Kerry down, Joe had to pry the rope from Peter’s hands, which remained fixed.

Park Rangers and Search and Rescue personnel afterward, and without exception, said that Pete was a hero. He did exactly what he was supposed to do. He was an example to others they said of selfless action, so different from much of the selfish behavior others frequently display in a crisis.

Pete’s Uncle, Tom Terbush stated in recent address. . .

Peter was an ordinary guy who did an extraordinary thing when the pressure was on. What I’m talking about is character. Character is an odd thing; it’s from the heart and it’s a difficult thing to judge. A person’s true character can be masked behind a façade of false smiles and righteous-looking actions when inside could be a heart full of deceit and treachery. The true test of character, however, is found when the heat is turned up. When you squeeze a person hard enough – what comes out is what’s on the inside.

Peter's Memorial Stone
Peter wasn’t the top dog in his school, he wasn’t the outstanding role-model for young people, he wasn’t what we would call a mover and a shaker in society. He was just a really nice guy who would rather climb a good crag than keep a steady job. But, what we honor Peter for is what came out of him when his world came crashing down around him – his character. There was something there inside of him that he could draw from when he found himself exposed to the very things that could destroy him. Peter’s heart was that of a servant-leader and he was able to lay down his personal agenda’s, selfish motivations, and in the end, his life for the life of a friend.

Calvin Landrus, Solid Rock’s National Director encourages you to consider. . .

Pete’s death and self-sacrifice shows the sacred responsibility we have when we hold the ropes for our climbing partners. More importantly, his courageous act reminds us clearly of how Jesus Christ held the rope to save us. These words are found in the Bible, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8)

Jesus Christ faced the cruel death on the cross--though He was sinless--so that we could experience new life and the forgiveness of our sins. It was the greatest act of love and compassion the world has ever known. And not only did Christ die, he supernaturally rose from the grave becoming victorious over sin and death.

Only a person who believed that there was more beyond this life could willingly lay down his life for a friend. Pete believed in Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord. Right now, Pete is at heaven with God. The Bible says this, “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” The something inside of Peter that made a difference is Jesus Christ. Would you like to have Jesus Christ inside of you?

Learn How to Have a Relationship with Jesus Christ!

Peter Terbush Leadership Summit

SUBSIDIZED State of the Art Training and Certification SPECIALLY DESIGNED FOR leaders in University Based Outdoor Recreation IN:

  • Alpine Mountaineering
  • Multiple Pitch Rock
  • Top Rope Rock

    The Summit Memorializes Peter Terbush who died a hero in Yosemite Valley on June 13th, 1999. Peter's last act was to save the life of his friend and climbing partner by maintaining a proper belay, even in the face of a rock slide that took his life. The Summit is a living memorial of Peter. The Summit takes it's primary mission from Peter's life: it is through service to others that we realize our full potential.

    A Eulogy for Pete

    Given by his Father Dr. James Terbush New Covenant Fellowship Church Larkspur, Colorado June 20, 1999 - Fathers Day
    Date Posted:

    Everyone a Leader, Everyone a Follower

    SERVANT LEADERSHIP by Tom Terbush Key Note Speech, June 14, 2003 Peter Terbush Leadership Summit
    Date Posted:

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