An important, extremely important, lesson I learned today: don't check anything out on your way up. Really. Strictly no sight-seeing. No matter how interesting.
This is what happened, Reader - I had just clipped onto the second quickdraw of the route when I noticed little white speckles at a corner. They weren't on the wall - they were sort of "hovering" a little above. I moved closer to have a better look. They were actually bits of chalk caught in cobwebs!
Normal people should not be excited at all to find cobwebs, no matter how unlikely (especially not when it isn't really unlikely most of the time) but somehow, I was. I moved even closer to look, and called out to my belayer, saying there were cobwebs there. He gave me a WTF-can-you-please-continue-climbing look and ignored me.
"But look, look!" I continued, "there are all these tiny spots of..." and that's when I noticed the brown spider with freakish long legs perched right beside the cute spots of chalk I was fascinated with, just inches from my nose.
It was a little guy - no bigger than my thumb nail - but it caught me by surprise. I cried "Argh! There's a spider here!!!" as I scrambled away from it. I've never moved so fast on any wall, and never heard so much gleeful sarcasm in the brief, befitting "Ha! You see?" from my belayer.
Yea, I saw. And I realise I was lucky I didn't not slip and fall - at just two clips, I could have hit the ground. Yikes.
So, remember this important lesson! Oh yea, I know any adequately sane climber will never do what I did. This post is just a self-reminder, really.