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Topping out VMC Direct Direct


Original Post
sara pax · · western mass/traveling · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 224

I think I want to go to the top on vmc direct direct. Can you rap from up there or is it a hike down? How's finding the trail?

Alan Rubin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

Hi Sara, It's been a very long time since I was up there, but my recollection is that after you move beyond the junction of  the VMC and the Direct it is best to walk off. Several of the upper pitches are quite loose, so rapping down would have a good chance of bringing down significant rockfall. In the past finding the trail down was pretty straightforward--just a bit of moving through open slabs and relatively light brush brought you to an obvious trail traversing the top. However if few parties are topping out these days, then it is possible that the trail is no longer quite as obvious. Still should be pretty easy to find your way down to the top of the 'former Old Man', from which the trail down is apparent.

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 526

Also haven't been up there in years, but agree with everything Alan says.  I remember the walk-off as pretty simple and not at all long and so the way to go even if the required rappels aren't sketchy.

chris_vultaggio · · The Gunks · Joined Dec 2008 · Points: 485

From what I remember it is a few dirty pitches of chopped steps and hummocks trending rightward, then walk-off right. Trail joins another well-formed descent trail, a little wandery at first but then becomes easy. Be warned it's called the cow's mouth for good reason, but fun nonetheless...

Eric Engberg · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 0
chris_vultaggio wrote:

From what I remember it is a few dirty pitches of chopped steps and hummocks trending rightward, then walk-off right. Trail joins another well-formed descent trail, a little wandery at first but then becomes easy. Be warned it's called the cow's mouth for good reason, but fun nonetheless...

This is pretty accurate I think.  I  will add that there are good rap anchors from the vacinity of the Cow's Mouth (you don't go exactly down the route) if you don't want to go to the tippy top.  Once past the Cow's Mouth you are better off dealing with the vertical bush whacking.  The trail is getting more obscure along the top these days - even finding your way to the Old Man from Moby is not as straight forward as it used to be.  When in doubt stick fairly close to the edge.

losbill · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 130

Sara if you do walk off as you are heading North on the cliff top you will eventually spy a large concrete pad below you.  It was used to land a helicopter with materials and people to maintain the Old Man.  Head for it and pass it on the cliff side.  Now at every opportunity keep trending right.  Eventually you will look down see a ledge with cables and other debris from the demise of the Old Man.  Move down to the ledge.  The descent begins on the North side of the ledge down an old cement drainage gutter.  As Eric indicated it is a bit overgrown with a fair amount of herd trails up top.  If you start to wade through thick, chest high puckerbrush you have likely missed it and will want to back track.  If memory serves me halfway correctly it is only about 10 minutes or so from the heli pad to the gutter.

losbill · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 130

BTW I'm retired but I know at least two or you who replied are not.  Get back to work you slackers!!!

sara pax · · western mass/traveling · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 224

Thanks so much every one! This is super helpful!

Dana Bartlett · · CO · Joined Nov 2003 · Points: 890

The trail is getting more obscure along the top these days

Yes.

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

It is pretty straight forward getting accross the top of the cliff from the top of Sams and The Ghost etc.  Do NOT  head for the heli pad. you will be in spruce traps. Stay well skiers right of the heli pad. I stay mostly on the slabs  just  south of the heli pad. actually just on the edge of the slabs and the pucker brush. pretty easily followed trail if you are any good at reading sign. As others have said  Look for the concrete sluice and the remanats of the steel cables and rods that held the old man together.  As soon as you see the sluice you are home free. good trail starts at the base of the sluice.  Don't get caught up there without a headlamp....... be pretty easy to go off the edge looking for the sluice in the dark sans headlamp.....

stephen arsenault · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 50

Sara,

Have fun if you go to the top. Remember that the Cow's Mouth leads out horizontally right, under a wierd sideways chimney. There is a nice crack in the back, about .5 inches wide. Many think the original route goes thru those roof cracks, but on the 1st ascent of the VMC, and the Direct/Direct, the route went out right under a weird ceiling. It's technically easy, about 5.7, but feels quite exposed. Both ways end up on the low angle slabs above.

sara pax · · western mass/traveling · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 224

More thanks! I've amassed quite the impressive list of badass old guy commenters on this post! Psyched for the route !

Russ Keane · · Asheville, NC · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 150

The 1st ascensionist has spoken!!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Northeastern States
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