KATHMANDU, Nepal - At least nine people are dead and officials say seven others, including a Quebec doctor, are missing after an avalanche smashed into a climbing expedition on a Himalayan peak in Nepal on Sunday.

The missing Canadian has been identified as cardiologist Dominique Ouimet, 48.

The doctor's sister, Isabelle Ouimet, confirmed his disappearance on the Facebook page of Expes.

In Ottawa, Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Chrystiane Roy said officials had been in contact with authorities in Nepal.

"We are following the developments closely and stand ready to provide consular assistance should there be a need," Roy said Sunday. "Our thoughts are with the victims (and their families) of this avalanche."

Ouimet was using the Himalayan expedition to raise money for the St-Jerome Regional Hospital north of Montreal and last week did several interviews with the Quebec media.

Police official Basanta Kuwar said the bodies of a Nepalese guide and a German man were recovered Sunday and that rescue pilots had spotted seven other bodies on the slopes of Mount Manaslu in northern Nepal, the eighth-highest mountain in the world.

Dipendra Paude of Nepal's Tourism Ministry, which controls all international climbing expeditions, told the Telegraph newspaper of London the dead climbers were from Spain, Germany and Nepal.

Rescue pilot Pasang, who uses only one name, said rescuers were attempting to bring the bodies of the dead back to the base camp.

The Telegraph said that in addition to the Canadian, the missing included five French nationals and an Italian.

Kuwar told The Canadian Press the helicopter search for the missing climbers resumed early Monday. He also confirmed that the missing included Ouimet.

Ten other climbers survived the avalanche but several were injured and were flown to hospitals by rescue helicopters, Kuwar said.

Isabelle Ouimet expressed disappointment and frustration late Sunday about the lack of information she was getting about the situation in Nepal.

"I'd like it if someone in the organization would take the trouble to provide us with news," she wrote on her own Facebook page.

"Nobody has contacted the family of Dominique Ouimet. I've done phone interviews on the radio and television in Canada. I have more tomorrow. I'll have to be honest and tell them the truth: we don't know who's in charge of the search, how the search is being done, what steps have been taken so far. After the shock, anger is rising. Time is of the essence."

The avalanche hit the climbers at a camp at 7,000 metres early in the morning as they were preparing to head toward the summit, which is 8,156 metres high.

A total of 231 climbers and guides were on the mountain, but not all were at the higher camps, officials said.

It is currently the beginning of Nepal's autumn mountaineering season. The autumn season comes right after the end of the monsoon rains, which make weather conditions unpredictable, and is not as popular among mountaineers as the spring season, when hundreds of climbers crowd the high Himalayan peaks.

Nepal has eight of the 14 highest peaks in the world. Climbers have complained in recent years that climbing conditions have deteriorated and risks of accidents have increased.

Veteran mountain guide Apa, who has climbed Mount Everest a record 21 times, travelled for months across Nepal earlier this year campaigning about the effects of global warming on the mountain peaks.

He told The Associated Press the mountains now have considerably less ice and snow, making it harder for climbers to use ice axes and crampons on their boots to get a grip on the slopes.

Loose snow also increases the risk of avalanches.

Officials were investigating the cause of Sunday's avalanche.

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