The author is a mountaineering enthusiast turned journalist. He went on the expedition in order to write an article about the commercialization of Everest. When he came back, he instead wrote a much longer article about the tragic events that unfolded.
Later, he continued to feel survivor's guilt, and tried to reach catharsis via recording his grief into this book.
The book really puts you into the mindset of an Everest climber. 2:00pm is the latest time to reach the summit and get back to Camp Four before nightfall. The climbers typically start for the summit around midnight and climb through the night, to get there before 2:00pm.
If by 2:00pm a climber has not reached the summit, he is advised to turn around and go back. One of the reasons for the catastrophe was that the expedition guides ignored this rule. They permitted clients to keep climbing until 4:00pm.
After the tragedy and the evacuation, other expeditions continued climbing. A couple weeks later, a South African climber by the name of Herrod summited just after 5:00pm, seven hours after the rest of his team. As soon as you read this, you know he will likely die on the mountain.
Herrod had been up on the South Col from the evening of May 9 through May 12. He'd felt the ferocity of that storm, heard the desperate radio calls for help, seen Beck Weathers crippled with horrible frostbite. Early on during his ascent of May 25, Herrod climbed right past the corpse of Scott Fischer, and several hours later at the south Summit he would have had to step over Rob Hall's lifeless legs. Apparently, the bodies made little impression on Herrod, however, for despite his lagging pace and the lateness of the hour he pressed onward to the top.
There was no further radio transmission from Herrod after his 5:15pm call from the summit.
I marvel at how someone could blithely ignore every warning and continue to ascend past 2:00pm. Stronger climbers had already perished by ignoring this rule, yet Herrod did not listen. On the other hand, I could imagine myself falling prey to this.