File picture: Tashi Sherpa/AP

Kathmandu - Seven climbers, including four South Koreans and their two Nepalese guides, were found dead on Saturday after a violent snowstorm tore apart their base camp at Mount Gurja in western Nepal, police said.

A team that reached the site at 3 500 metres above sea level found seven bodies, Bir Bahadur Budha, deputy superintendent of police in Myagdi district, said.

Expedition organizer Wangchu Sherpa said the nine-person team consisted of five South Korean climbers and four Nepalese mountain guides. Only seven bodies have been found so far.

A storm destroyed their camp on the 7,193-metre-high mountain late Friday.

"The bodies have suffered snow burns. It's very hard to identify, but after closer scrutiny, the group said four were South Koreans and two Nepalese," he said, adding that one body remained unidentified.

Earlier, a police spokesman had said a helicopter pilot saw eight bodies scattered across the mountain.

The expedition was led by veteran South Korean climber Kim Chang Ho, who was the first from his country to have scaled 14 peaks higher than 8,000 metres.

The police officer said a search-and-rescue team on a helicopter was likely to collect and retrieve the bodies on Sunday.

Mount Gurja, which is not among the popular mountains in Nepal, lies near the 8,167-metre Dhaulagiri, the world's seventh highest peak.

Nepal's main climbing season runs between April and May, when weather conditions are favourable. But several climbers also attempt to reach some of the world's highest peaks during the autumn season from September to October, despite increased risks.