The author was sent out by a magazine to chronicle the events surrounding various expeditions to climb Mt. Everest in 1996. I was expecting this book to read like a diary, but it also refers to earlier mountaineering events along the way. I learned quite a few facts about upper level mountain climbing. I thought a group would act together and help each other out, but once the quest for the summit begins, every climber is on their own. If you are hours behind everyone else, so be it. It's up to the expedition leader to watch for the safety of their group, but they can't help everyone once a blizzard suddenly develops. For some, this turns into a struggle to survive.The one drawback in this otherwise fine book is too little time is spent on the rigors of the ascent and too much on the backstory of each expedition. I had no idea so many climbers could be on a remote mountain at once. It seemed more like Grand Central Station at the end when various groups are trying to reach the summit simultaneously. I was amazed at the insensitivity of certain climbers who in their eagerness to reach the top walked right by those in obvious need of help.This was a gripping, informative read about trying to live in an alien, hostile environment.