The Wall by Jeff Long was great, however reading during a time when you are moving half way across the country perhaps didn't give The Wall the full attention it deserved. I left off reading for almost a week when a survivor was found on El Cap and the tension was palpable. I'm highly recommending it because although I wanted to finish it, I simply wasn't physically able to right away and because the ending really surprised me. The Wall was originally published in 2006 and my paperback copy was 384 pages long.
A widowed geologist makes one final, perilous attempt to scale Yosemite's El Cap and winds up running for his life in Long's atmospheric, aggressive thriller (after The Reckoning). Hugh Glass and his climbing buddy Lewis Cole revisit the mountain where 35 years earlier, they shared glory on the 3,600-foot-high monolith and met the women they would marry. Now, years later, Hugh's wife has vanished and Lewis's is divorcing him. Ascending El Cap, Hugh and Lewis yearn for their wives and are humbled by nature's rapture. Their last-ditch adventure is marred by the discovery of a body—one of three fallen climbers—and an encounter with Joshua, a malevolent old "caveman" who steals the corpse. Long casts the dramatic natural setting as a major player in the story and imparts fascinating facts about the art of rock-climbing. Joshua's reappearance and a forest fire complicate the climbers' trek, before a search and rescue guide who seeks his missing fiancée joins them. Lewis abandons the expedition, but increasingly paranoid Hugh continues on, joining the shifty guide to find the other lost climbers just as a violent storm heads their way. The surprise ending is a true shocker in this hurtling, gripping read.