Koreans who died in Nepal were veteran climbers

Heavy snowstorm and landslide buried the base camp

At least eight climbers killed on Nepal peak: officials

Feted South Korean climber Kim Chang-ho, who in 2013 became the fastest person to summit the world's 14 highest mountains without using supplemental oxygen, was leading the expedition, according to a government-issued climbing permit seen by AFP.

"A mountain expedition of five South Korean nationals and four foreigners were swept off by strong winds at the base camp during their climb to Mount Gurja". But the official said they couldn't secure flight tickets to Nepal in time and chose to transport the bodies to South Korea soon, possibly by Wednesday morning at the earliest.

Grieving relatives received the bodies of the local Nepalese guides.

A police team heading toward the base camp on foot is unlikely to reach the site until Sunday.

It was unlikely the weather would clear on Saturday and the base camp is at least one-day trek from the nearest village.

An official from the South Korea's Corean Alpine Club said the bodies of Kim Chang-ho and four other South Koreans who were killed will arrive in South Korea on Wednesday.

"It seems that seracs [glacial ice] and snow fell from high on the mountain and the strong gusts of winds from that hit the campsite, throwing the climbers off", one rescuer, Suraj Paduyal told news wire AFP.

The previous year, 16 Sherpas were killed on Everest when an avalanche swept through the Khumbu Icefall during the busy spring climbing season.

"We notified the family members of the dead climbers that it's hard to go to Nepal", the official said.

A storm destroyed their camp and rescue helicopters sent early Saturday were unable to land because of bad weather conditions on the mountain, police official Bir Bahadur Budamagar said.

Their bodies were retrieved Sunday morning and were later transported to a hospital in Kathmandu.

In April, an Italian climber died after he was blown off Mount Dhaulagiri, the world's seventh highest peak which neighbours Mount Gurja.

According to the Himalayan Database, no-one has stood on Gurja's summit since 1996.

Kim was well-known as the first South Korean to climb the world's 14 highest mountains.

The climbers were also attempting to scale a 7,193-meter (23,590-foot) peak which is not among the highest, the most hard or popular mountain to climb in Nepal.

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