In the freezing high passes of the Italian Alps, migrants march slowly up an icy incline as they head for France.
The mountains have become an unlikely route for Africans looking for a new life across the border.
Thousands are thought to have tried to traverse the range over the last few months alone, wearing clothing that is unlikely to protect them from the extreme conditions.
Icy climb: African migrants head for the Pian del Colle crossing in north-west Italy
Thousands are making the trek wearing clothing that is unlikely to protect them from the extreme conditions
Faced with the policies of Italy’s Right-wing government, asylum seekers who arrive by boat have headed north instead to reach France
Faced with the policies of Italy’s Right-wing government, asylum seekers who arrive by boat on the country’s Mediterranean shores have headed north instead to reach France.
From there they can move on to Germany, Spain, Belgium, Holland and – ultimately for many – Britain.
The latest route used by desperate migrants is increasingly coming to the attention of populist Right-wing political groups that have risen to prominence on the back of Europe’s migrant crisis.
Already, Italy has swung heavily to the right, with interior minister Matteo Salvini turning migrant boats away from harbours. Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban has made stopping immigration a cornerstone of his philosophy, and young conservative Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz has called for an ‘axis of the willing’ to strengthen borders.
From there they can move on to Germany, Spain, Belgium, Holland and – ultimately for many – Britain. Pictured: Migrants walk at Colle della Scala during an attempt to reach the French border
Anti-immigrant MEP Christelle Lechevalier – of the renamed French right-wing National Front, now National Rally – last week tried to make political capital out of African migrants crossing from Italy into France at the ski resort of Montgenevre.
Some 26 European nations are in the supposedly border-free Schengen zone, which makes it possible to cross between member states without controls. But faced with the prospect of mass immigration, police at several border posts are increasingly turning away new arrivals and sending them back to Italy.
Italy's interior minister Matteo Salvini has been turning migrant boats away from harbours. The asylum seekers are now making the dangerous trek towards France
As a result migrants are turning to mountain passes, ski resorts and hiking trails to avoid official checks.
Snow-free in the summer, the Alps are a far less