The minimum energy path is a useful concept in understanding chemical reaction paths. As I understand it, such MEP's are most often computed to verify that a transition state structure connects two minima of interest. Several algorithms exist for computing MEP's, but I suppose all have in common that they are able to follow the gradient.
I am in a situation where I think it would be useful to follow the gradient, but not from a TS structure. Can this be done? I think the IRC functionality of software expects to follow the gradient in two directions, and demand the reaction vector.
Is there a simple and common way of computing MEP's from arbitrary positions on the PES? (I will use Molcas). What would happen if I just do a geometry optimization from the arbitrary position? It is my understanding that geometry optimization algorithms displace the atoms in the direction of the force, and in that way a lower energy is guaranteed for each successive step. But will this actually follow the gradient?