John Cutter, Designer

Oct 1, 2000
Outside Magazine

"Mountaineers are looking for new challenges, and the routes they are going for are so difficult, no one can climb them fast enough with the current technology on the market," says John Cutter, the 42-year-old gear designer who is stitching up the tents, bivy sack–inclusive packs, and haul bags that Jared Ogden, Mark Synnott, and Kevin Thaw will use for their October ascent of Mount Jannu. Cutter has patterned and constructed his own designs since high school, when he broke his mother's sewing machine making a bike pannier. Now under contract to The North Face, Cutter specializes in ultralight packs and tents, including this prototype for a new version of the company's discontinued Jetstream pack, which won't hit the market for at least a year. This and other designs—such as the Jannu team's portaledge—perform at their best in lofty places, but ultimately, Cutter feels most at home in his workshop. His take on the portaledge: "You couldn't pay me to spend the night in it."

More at Outside

Elsewhere on the Web