Intra-arterial thrombolysis (IAT) is the only treatment that has demonstrated benefit in patients with acute basilar artery occlusions (ABAO). IAT may be difficult to perform when access to the occluded basilar artery (BA) is prevented by pathology of the vertebral arteries (VA). We report on two patients with ABAO due to embolism from the dominating VA. Catheter navigation through the occluded VA and thromboaspiration enabled access to the BA. Thromboaspiration alone or in addition to IAT resulted in a complete recanalization of the BA and a favorable clinical outcome. A stent was deployed at the site of the stenosis in the VA either prior to or immediately after BA recanalization.