While VBA had excellent rock throughout (loose for crag-standards, but very clean for alpine standards), I admit that the last few pitches require some care. Chris & I reached pitch 13, we heard Jon & Thomas shouting "Rock! Rock! Rock!"
We watched as a watermelon-sized rock bounced off the arete and sailed through the air. And it kept sailing . . . and sailing . . . and sailing . . . and finally landed with a boom in the couloir below, ricocheting off the walls and sending down a whole cascade of rocks, sweeping down the garbage chute.
This really added some salience to just how steep, exposed, and high the aretes were from the neighboring gullies!
It also added some good insights. I thought it strange that the SuperTopo guide, when discussing bailing, talked about rapping into these gullies and then climbing them all the way up to the summit plateau. Since they looked like a house of cards, and still pretty sustained 4th to low 5th class, climbing to the top seemed like a strange way to bail rather than downclimbing & rappelling the gullies.
Now I think that not only is it more dangerous to descend the gullies due to risk of knocking rocks down on each other as one downclimbs & rappels, but since the aretes often have other climbers on them, if anyone knocks a rock down into the chute, you are screwed - and the lower you are in the chute, the more likely you are to be in the way of falling rock. Your exposure to this hazard is decreased by climbing up, and increased by going down.