Snowmass 9-year-old completes eight-day trek to Everest Base Camp |

Snowmass 9-year-old completes eight-day trek to Everest Base Camp

Audrey Ryan The Aspen Times
Emily in front of a cabin on day 7, when they hiked from Dingboche to Lobuche. The peak in the background is Lobuche Peak.

What would inspire a 9-year-old to spend her fall break trekking to Everest Base Camp? A healthy dose of sibling rivalry.

Emily Bassion and her mom, Kirsten, made the nine-day trek to Base Camp just a year after Emily’s sister, Siri, and dad, Todd, did. Siri was 10 when she completed the hike, and, although Kirsten thought they should wait until Emily was ten for her to do it, Emily had different plans.

“I just wanted to beat my sister,” she said in a phone interview on Oct. 27, while she and her mom waited in Dallas to catch their flight home after almost two days of travel.

Emily is a fourth grader at Aspen Elementary School. To prepare for this adventure, she and Kirsten hiked from Aspen to Crested Butte as well as the Elk Camp Trail, along with several hikes at the top of Snowmass to prepare for the elevation. Emily also stays active with Girls on the Run and soccer.

Emily pointing at Mt. Everest on day 8, right before they got to Base Camp.
Courtesy of Kirsten Bassion


The pair began their hike on Oct. 14. They arrived at Base Camp seven days later, on Oct. 21. The final day of hiking was nine miles long.

“On the day getting to base camp, it was a really skinny narrow trail,” she said. “All these people passed and moved to the side. They kept complimenting me, and the whole line (of people) gave me fist bumps.”

Kirsten said they only saw four other children during their journey. Emily said the fist bumps and compliments was one of her favorite parts of the trip, second only to the heated beds they slept on one night.

After finishing up the long days of hiking, she and her mom visited Roadhouse Cafe in Kathmandu and ordered the pizza, as recommended by Siri. Emily said they even brought back a plastic water bottle as a souvenir to show her sister and dad they went to the restaurant.

Throughout the trip, Emily’s motto was “if you work hard enough, you can achieve anything,” and she did just that. Now, it’s back to school for her, where she got to give a presentation to her classmates about her trip and hand out souvenirs.

To reach Audrey Ryan, email her at

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