Hugh and Lewis, two former hippie rock climbers gone soft with middle age, reunite to scale El Capitan, the Yosemite mountain they first tackled decades before. In the intervening years, they both lost women they met while climbing. Now the pair hope the strenuous ascent will clear their minds and allow them to bury their painful pasts. That is, until another climber plunges to her death and a spooky mountain man snatches her body. While relying heavily on climbing terminology, Jeff Long delivers a palpable sense of the Zen-like concentration and hand-straining physicality needed to conquer a big hunk of rock. A bravura, chapter-long description of a forest fire and the truly shocking ending help to elevate The Wall far above an increasingly high pile of pedestrian thrillers.

The Wall
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