Mountaineer of the Week: Autumn Cutter

Meet Autumn, a self-described "awe-addict" who loves discovering new places while adventuring with The Mountaineers, especially when those new places involve surprise baked goods.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
September 16, 2022

Each week we bring you a personal story from one of our members. For our member profile this week we talked to...

Name: Autumn Cutter
Hometown: Sammamish, WA
Member Since: December, 2021
Occupation: Special Education Teacher
Favorite Activities: Hiking, paddleboarding, backpacking, camping, climbing, snowshoeing, and just starting to get into mountaineering!

10 ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH THE MOUNTAINEERS?

I first got involved with The Mountaineers when I took "Introduction to Leading Bolted Routes" back in 2015. I was climbing a lot back then with people who were much more experienced than me and was relying on them to organize and lead all of our climbing trips. Eventually, those friends started to get busy with other life things and I started to really miss climbing outdoors. I knew if I wanted to keep it up I had to become more self-sufficient, so *I* could be the one to organize trips and lead routes! One Google search for "lead climbing classes Seattle" later and voila, I was in!

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO GET OUTSIDE WITH US?

Despite growing up in the PNW for most of my life, I was not raised in a very outdoorsy family and didn't go on my very first hike (Rattlesnake Ridge, of course) until I was 18. I remember getting to the top, looking out over the mountaintops, and thinking - "Wait, this was here the WHOLE TIME??" When I go out with The Mountaineers, I am using new skills and techniques to reach places that were inaccessible to me prior to receiving Mountaineers instruction. That means I get to keep having that, "THIS is here TOO??" feeling again and again as my world continues to get bigger and bigger. I guess I'm something of an awe-addict!

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE MOUNTAINEERS MEMORY?

Getting to the top of Silver King peak and watching Andy Cahn pull an entire metal pan of homemade brownies out of his backpack to share with the group. I know now that Andy has a reputation for that but I was completely taken by surprise at the time (especially since he said our "summit treat" was going to be a bag of raw vegetables which, yes, he also brought).

WHO/WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

I am inspired by ultra-endurance athletes who push past the bounds of what we think the human body can do. Whenever I am struggling or tired on a hike, I think - "If Courtney Dauwalter can run so long and so hard that she literally became temporarily blind, you can make it another mile up this hill." Similarly, I am really inspired by all of the women athletes, BIPOC athletes, LGBTQIA+ athletes, and athletes with disabilities getting out there and crushing it in sports that have historically been dominated by white, cisgender, able-bodied men. Without a doubt, there have been some AMAZING athletes out there that never got to excel because outdoor recreation wasn't an inviting or safe space for them. I can't want to see how that changes.

AS A DONOR AND VOLUNTEER-SUPPORTED ORGANIZATION, THE MOUNTAINEERS IS BASED ON COMMUNITY SUPPORT. HOW HAVE YOU PAID IT FORWARD, OR HOW HAVE YOU BENEFITED FROM SOMEONE ELSE PAYING IT FORWARD?

This is such a small example but last week on Mt. Adams a woman stopped in the middle of a glissade chute and told me she didn't know what she was doing. Ice axe safety was a BIG focus of the alpine scrambling class I took this year, so I spent a few minutes sitting with her and showing her how to hold the axe so she wouldn't injure herself. I'm so glad that I had the skills and knowledge in that situation to be able to help someone else stay safe (even though I totally wiped out in my own glissade chute about 5 minutes later!)

WHAT DOES ADVENTURE MEAN TO YOU?

Adventure means three things to me - novelty, growth, and risk of failure. A good adventure should have all three - and a GREAT adventure should have all three plus your friends.


LIGHTNING ROUND!

Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise
Smile or game face? Smile
What's your 11th Essential? Emergency Snickers bar
What’s your happy place? Disneyland!
Post-adventure meal of choice? A veggie burger with fries or tofu Pad Thai
If you could be a rockstar at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? Definitely rock climbing!


Have you had a memorable experience with The Mountaineers you'd like to share, or know someone who should share their story? Submit your info for a chance to be featured!