Mount Gurja, in Nepal's Dhaulagiri range

At least nine climbers have been reported missing after a storm swept through their camp on a Himalayan mountain.

The group, five South Koreans and their four Nepali guides, were trying to ascend Mount Gurja, a 7,193m (23,599ft) peak.

Police reports say the storm struck while the group were at their base camp, which was destroyed.

A rescue helicopter sent to the site was unable to land because of poor visibility but the pilot was able to see the area had been devastated.

The incident involves the largest group to be hit by a climbing accident in Nepal in two years.

Wangchu Sherpa, of the Trekking Camp Nepal agency, which provided support to the climbers, said: “Our rescue operation is continuing and we are trying to find details.”

Officials said it was unlikely the bad weather would clear on Saturday and the base camp is at least a one-day trek from the nearest village.

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

Mount Gurja, also called Gurja Himal, while not famous as one of Nepal’s most challenging peaks, is part of the Dhaulagiri range, which is topped by Dhaulagiri I, the seventh-highest mountain in the world.

The Dhaulagiri massif, about 130 miles (210km) northwest of Kathmandu, has been responsible for the deaths of dozens of climbers since the first recorded attempt on one of its lower summits in 1954.

Gurja itself was not conquered until as late as 1969 and is said to have a challenging south face.

Nepal is in peak climbing season at present after the end of monsoon season.

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