The first two cameras I used in the Sierras were $200, automatic point and
shoots with lithium batteries. They both froze up on me. Next I tried $7
disposables and they are pretty good, considering the price and the fact that
all these photos lose 70% of their kb when they go through JPEG compression set
at 30% anyway. But in the higher illumination levels of snow, the disposables
wash out. My current camera of choice is the Sony DSC-S50 digital still camera.
I haven't used it yet in freezing temperatures but for average conditions it
works great. Selecting a 640 x 480 image size results in a 60kb photo that can
be reduced by thumbnail so webpage weight and load time are kept under control.
Before going to digital I followed the advice of John Herbst of Grizzly Bear Nature Photography He told me to get an automatic point and shoot that runs on AA batteries. AA batteries are a lot more readily available, easier to change, and easier to keep warm than lithium batteries. My AA point and shoot Olympus cost only 60$. People in camera stores will never tell you to buy a 60$ camera. They want to sell 300$ cameras, not 60$ cameras. Make phone calls before going to the store to see if they have AA powered automatic point and shoots. Manual cameras would work for people that know more about photography than I do. When I go up and down mountains I have got enough to think about, just staying alive.
Galen and Tuan seem to know a lot about mountains and photography....