updated 12/9/2003 9:15:24 PM ET 2003-12-10T02:15:24

Four climbers, all roped together, were found dead early Wednesday by a guide on Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest peak, police said.

"It appears the four, roped together, may have fallen on the Linda Shelf, below Mount Cook," Constable Brent Swanson said in a statement.

The identities and nationalities of the four were not immediately released.

Weather conditions were excellent in the area and there had been no bad weather overnight, Swanson said. It was too early to speculate about what caused the apparent fall, he said.

Mount Cook is New Zealand's highest peak, at 12,349 feet, and guided climbs on it have been very popular in the past decade, since the centenary in 1994 of its first successful ascent.

The mountain has taken a heavy toll of climbers, with at least 95 killed in the past 75 years.

Police were using helicopters to recover the bodies from the mountain.

No further details were immediately available.

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