April 02, 2003
The above photo was taken during a snowshoe trek in Oisans, part of the French Alps, in southeastern France. This area is near Grenoble, site of the 1968 winter Olympics. In this portion of the Alps, at least 120 mountains are higher than 3,000 meters (9,100 ft). During the last glacial period, glaciers carved profiles of deep valleys and steep slopes as they first advanced and then retreated to their present positions. The snow covered conifers and the mountains touching the leaden skies produced picturesque views, however, the deep, fresh powder, and stinging winds, combined with temperatures of about -17 C (2 degrees F), made for rather arduous snowshoeing conditions.