Snowmass father-daughter duo make trek to Everest Base Camp on fall break
Ten-year-old Siri Bassion keeps chasing adventure after perfect ski season
Pizza never tasted so good as it did when 10-year-old Siri Bassion and her dad, Todd, made it back to Kathmandu after their trek up to Everest Base Camp.
“We went and got the best pizza in my life,” Siri said in an interview Oct. 25, one day after returning from the trip.
“And we went to the same pizza place three days in a row,” Todd added. “All the employees knew her.”
The duo’s nine-day trek from around 9,300 feet in Lukla up to 17,598 feet at Base Camp probably helped boost the appetite. Especially so for Siri, who thought it wasn’t the endurance or the altitude that was the most challenging but rather getting used to the vegetarian food served at tea houses along the route. (That, and missing her friends, family and teachers, she said.)
Still, the terrain was a bit more challenging than expected, according to Siri.
“Oh, it was a little harder than I thought, because my dad made it sound like it was just all flat all day, but it was up and down,” she said. Though the route ends about 8,000 feet higher than where it started, the actual elevation gained is around 13,700 feet.
In fact, training for the physical demands of trek wasn’t that hard, given the Bassions’ enthusiasm for outdoor activity. Siri and her younger sister Emily skied a perfect season last winter, and snagged their 100-day pins the year before; the whole family spends an abundance of time hiking and mountain biking in the summer.
Siri and Todd also climbed the 14,271-foot Quandary Peak in Summit County, “just to see if we could do it,” Todd said. They could.
The trek to Base Camp was mostly a breeze with a good weather window for the majority of the journey, though the effects of altitude did put a damper on the final stretch. A storm rolled in on the last day, a nine-hour hike made more difficult by high winds and a foot of fresh snow in some places.
“We decided to just go for it anyway, but it was a pretty hairy last day,” Todd said. “But other than that, it was pretty smooth sailing.”
It’s probably not the way most 10-year-olds spend their fall break, and Siri didn’t see any other kids on the nine-day journey up to Base Camp. (There also weren’t too many other people in general; due to COVID-19 restrictions, there are fewer climbers this year, and the duo only encountered about 15 other hikers by Siri’s estimation.)
But Siri is goal-oriented and was looking for a challenge, and Everest Base Camp seemed as good a goal as any, according to Todd.
“We’re kind of crazy — I don’t know what we were thinking, but we did it,” Todd said.
Besides, adventure in the Himalayas runs in the family for the Bassions: Siri’s parents Todd and Kirsten met on an around-the-world trip to Nepal, and Todd’s mother attempted the same hike to Base Camp several decades ago, though she had to end her trek early due to altitude sickness.
Siri said she plans to carry on the tradition with her own kids someday — maybe with the next generation wearing the same size-4 hiking shoes that she wore on the journey this month, Todd added.
Know a local kid setting out on big adventures? Email Kaya Williams at email@example.com.
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