A resident of northern British Columbia, Diandra Oliver, heads to Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa with her sites set on climbing the mountain with the Curvy Kili Crew. The Curvy Kili Crew is a group of 20 plus-size women who have joined together with the goal of reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro on March 8, International Women’s Day 2019.
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LIVE from Kili // Rongai Route // Day 5: We know you are all patiently waiting for pictures from the Curvy Kili Crew…we are too!! They have still not had cell reception to get any photos through, but they are doing great! Today’s trek was an acclimatization hike to School Hut, which is at a whopping 15,748 ft! Tomorrow’s trek is heading to base camp!! #whoapluskili2019 #curvykilicrew . . 📷: @nicolabaileyphoto
Organized by New York-base WHOA Travel’s plus size division, the crew will embark on the six-day trek along the Rongai Route to 5,895m/1,9340ft. The hike will be the first group fat hike of Kilimanjaro, the world’s tallest free standing mountain, and the Curvy Kili Crew has been featured across the internet in social media stories, blog posts and podcasts like She Explores and Pop This!
Garnering corporate sponsors like Keen, Rawlogy, prAna and US-based plus size fashion company Dia & Co., The Curvy Kili Crew has been preparing for more than a year. Diandra Oliver, a resident of Telkwa and PhD student at Simon Fraser University, joined the crew after securing a spot off their waitlist for July 2019.
“Deciding to say yes to this trip has kind of blown my whole life right open,” says Oliver, a former ambassador for the Vancouver chapter of Fat Girls Hiking. “It’s been such an amazing experience preparing for this trip. Between the extensive physical training, building relationships with other crew members via social media, advocating for the inclusion of diverse bodies in the outdoor industry, and giving talks and participating in podcasts and blog posts has been a bit of a whirlwind.”
The training, however, has been the best part. In addition to working out indoors at Tight Club in Vancouver and the Bulkley Valley Regional Pool in Smithers, Oliver has dedicated much of her training time to hiking and being outdoors. Oliver even simulated the 77 km distance and 3,945m elevation gain on trails in and around the Lower Mainland in October 2018.
“Being able to build up my endurance and mobility for the hike outdoors has been so fulfilling. Because outdoor culture is not inclusive of diverse bodies, I’m always aware of being a fat person on the trail and working through what that looks like for other people and how that feels for myself,” reports Oliver. “A major hurdle for many of the women on the Curvy Kili Crew has been finding technical gear in the right sizes, including clothes and backpacks and sleeping bags.
We’ve worked together to grow a space for our bodies and other fat, curvy, or plus size bodies within the outdoor industry. We really hope that our trip inspires other people with diverse bodies to go outside where they live and to take on adventures like we are.”
The Curvy Kili Crew hikes from March 3-9, 2019.
Learn more about the women in the Curvy Kili Crew via their Dia & Co Profile at dia.com/blog/meet/meet-the-curvy-kili-crew.
Group, taken at Winter Training Camp in NY January 2019- Allison Marie Fleece