gully ˈgu̇-lē , ˈgə- noun
: a deep ditch that was created by running water
The word gully has appeared in 18 articles on NYTimes.com in the past year, including on July 26 in “Overcrowded and More Dangerous, Mont Blanc Faces a Crisis” by Paige McClanahan:
But the dream comes with its own set of dangers. More than half a dozen routes lead to Mont Blanc’s summit, but just two — the Three Mountains Route, which starts from Chamonix, and the Normal Route, which starts from the neighboring community of Saint-Gervais — are accessible to climbers with only a moderate amount of experience. While the majority return from the summit unscathed, both itineraries entail risk.
The Normal Route — chosen by about three quarters of the climbers aiming for the summit — goes across the Grand Couloir, a steep, narrow gully that acts as a sort of bowling alley for falling rocks. Near the top, the path leads onto a narrow ridge of snow and ice, about 100 yards long and just a couple of feet wide, that’s flanked by steep drops. If you stumble there, you can fall to your death.