I'm with Vern on this one. In the mountains it is not uncommon to have a dynamic range of 9EV, whereas a camera may only cover a range of 6EV. HDR and GND filters are the best ways around this. There is also a trick that used to work for b&w film, but I've never tried it with a digital camera. The basic premise is that a person pre-exposes a photo to a neutral grey card for a short exposure. Then the scene is photographed again normally (exposing for the highlights) using a multiexposure shot. In terms of using with a small p&s, you can't do this if you can't do multi-exposures. The underexposure should work if you expose for the grey card and then do -3 stops. Maybe -4 would be better if you can, it depends. I'm doubtful that this technique works very well for colour photos but there may be some circumstances where it's ok.
For those interested, this is a very basic reason why it works. By underexposing a grey card, you are trying to take a picture of an almost black surface. Suppose the scene has a dynamic range of 9 stops. What you are essentially doing is compressing the image to 7 stops. Only the darkest areas will be affected by the pre-exposure, and they will be made brighter while the pre-exposure will have no affect on the highlights.