The Curvy Kili Crew: Breaking Records and Smashing Stereotypes
Almost one year ago I wrote about wanting to climb Mount Kilimanjaro again but with one or two fellow plus size hikers. Much has happened since then.
After several weeks of working with WHOA Travel to hash out an itinerary we finally had a signup link for the climb. Nothing was published on the WHOA website since we wanted to limit the trip to plus size hikers only. Instead the word was spread within online travel communities and plus size hiking groups. All 20 spots were filled before we even hit the one-year countdown. The response was THAT overwhelming.
The women who are joining me on this adventure are some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met, and I’ve only met a few of them in person so far! We’ve got moms, yoga teachers, vegans and cancer survivors. We’ve got young hikers and old hikers, straight hikers and queer hikers. We’ve got volleyball players, triathletes and a two-time Ironman finisher.
Our group has formed such an amazing bond over the past 9 months and it will continue to grow for the next 9. We’re motivating ourselves and each other. We’re planning weekend hiking trips across the US, training in altitude simulation centers and trying different forms of exercise. We are preparing our bodies for Kilimanjaro without a focus on weight loss or dieting. Because why wait to do something incredible just so you can lose 20 pounds first? There’s no time like the present!
What’s most exciting, though, is that we’re working with a production company to film a documentary of our journey. This trip will inspire a new wave of plus size hikers to seek adventure outside their comfort zones, to test the boundaries of their physical limitations and to ignore the stereotypes that fat people face on a daily basis. We are plus size pioneers who will be normalizing fat hiking on Kilimanjaro and around the world.
We know this trip will be hard. We know that carrying an extra 100+ pounds up the mountain will be incredibly challenging and physically demanding. We know that we’re going to get stared at, especially from other hikers on the trails. We know we might take some cruel comments to heart and let doubt creep in when the going gets tough. We know all of these things and yet we still signed up for the challenge.
Because we also know that the aches and pains will only be temporary but the memories of our achievement will last a lifetime. We know that for everyone who stares at us on the mountain a hundred more are watching us back home, cheering us on. And when the doubt starts creeping in we know that we have 19 other amazing and supportive women to rally around us.
I was so excited to climb Kilimanjaro in 2016 but that excitement pales in comparison to what I feel for the Curvy Kili Crew. This is my mountain family and I’m amazed at what our group has already accomplished.
Update: WHOA Travel has created a new division of adventures designed especially for plus size women: WHOA plus! Their first official trip is the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu in July 2019. I’ll be going on that trek if you’re interested in joining me!