A one-of-a-kind athlete, with a slight grimace on his face and lively eyes, a cap always on his head and a creative and innovative mindset, constantly looking for a new vertical challenge. This is Paul Bonhomme.
Born in 1975, Belgian by birth, Dutch by origin, and French by adoption, he now lives with his wife and four children in the tiny town of Cercier, the gateway to his beloved Mont Blanc.
High mountain guide, extreme skier, climber and trail runner. It’s impossible to categorize Paul with a single label.
His athletic profile is proof of this: after competing at the national level in bouldering gyms during his adolescence, from the age of 20 he pursued a career in the mountains, first as a ski instructor and then as a guide. It was a way to be close to his brother and his best friend, inseparable partners in adventure who died prematurely on the slopes of Gasherbrum, but also to complete ambitious projects while seeking a totally new approach to exploration and steep skiing.
Climbing on foot or with ropes, and descending along lines conceived just few days before, with gradients that often reach 50 degrees, but always attentive to personal safety and the conditions imposed by the mountains. This is the style of exploration that Paul embraced in completing his most memorable challenges, from the four faces of the Aiguille Verte in one day (2018) to the 10 steep lines of “Project X” (2021).
But the soul of a downhill skier coexists with that of a mountaineer. In 2022 he completed the “Ecrins dance,” the personal project that led him to connect all the mountain refuges dispersed around the national park of the same name. In 2023, his dream is to complete the Via Alpina — 2,650 kilometers and 150,000 meters of elevation gain — in 28 days!
For Paul, it doesn’t take much to generate the spark: when the sight of a profile entices him, he immediately visualizes a line that cuts down the mountain almost vertically. From there, he’s possessed by a single thought!