Cinque Torri, meaning "Five Towers", is a group of actually more than 5 towers that lies on the south slopes of Falzarego Pass above Cortina d'Ampezzo. It is part of the larger Averau-Nuvolau group in the Cortina dolomites. The climbs are short - no more than 220 m and usually more like 50 to 150 m - and the peak elevations are low (around 2700m). They are therefore ideal when time is short, for training, for beginners or when the weather is poor in the higher peaks. Every difficulty from UIAA III (5.2) on up can be found. Much protection, almost all belay stances and rappel anchors are fixed.
The five main towers are:
The above names are as the Italians would refer to them. The spelling and word order on the names varies a bit in the English language guidebooks. My English language guidebook describes 24 routes. I am sure that there are many more routes than that available. See the routes section for those routes we climbed. I encourage others to add other routes they have climbed.
One small tower, Torre Trephor, NE of the main group, fell a few years ago. It serves to remind us, how we must enjoy life and climbing while it is there!
There is regular bus service from Cortina and Brunico to Falzarego Pass. Since Cinque Torri do not require you to get going very early in the morning, using the bus will work.
Dolomiti Bus: Cortina - Cianzopè - Bai de Dones - P.sso Falzarego
Dolomiti Bus: Cortina - Bai de Dones - Passo Falzarego - Agordo - Belluno
Sad: Brunico - Alta Badia - P.sso Falzarego
However, for other climbs, the buses do not go everywhere nor is the schedule always climber friendly so having your own car is best. We have found it cheaper to arrange car rental from the US. I can't say if this is true if you are coming from a different country. We have gone by train to Innsbruck and rented a car there. Rent the smallest car that meets the need. The roads in the Dolomites are narrow, exposed and winding with few guard rails. Bicycling is very popular and you are also sharing the road with tourists with poor mountain driving skills and tour buses. Parking occasionally is problematic. It seemed to be much easier to get around with a little car. Be aware that because car theft is supposedly a problem in Italy, most rental places want you to have a credit card with a limit equal to the car's value or buy special insurance. They will require you to rent and use a steering wheel block as well. Gasoline in Europe is really expensive (easily triple of US gas prices), but the distances are mercifully very short.
It's about a 2 hour drive from Innsbruck to the Dolomites. The freeways in Italy are toll roads. If you are in a hurry, they are excellent and the tolls not too expensive. However, if you want to see the countryside and/or if your budget is tight, use the main roads that parallel the freeway. With a decent road map (or printing out Mapquest maps) navigation is easy. Everything is well signed. The roads everywhere were in good shape.
You can access the Cinque Torri group from the east through Cortina d'Ampezzo (SR51 and then SR48) or from the west through Val Gardena (Grödner Tal) by way of Sella, Pordoi and Falzarego Passes (SR242, SS48, SR48).
Final approaches are easy and short. Either drive up to the Rifugio Cinque Torri ( private hut), which lies east of the towers and walk 10 to 15 minutes or use the chairlift from the main road 3 km east of Falzarego Pass and walk 5 minutes. There is ample parking at the base of the chairlift.
One can stay at the hut. There is also a CAI hut nearby, the Rifugio Nuvolau I am not sure if camping is permitted but I suspect not, as this place is very popular and environmental concerns would take precedence. Otherwise, there are no restrictions of any sort. There are camping places and other accommodations in Cortina d'Ampezza and in Val Gardena. The whole area is very popular, so reservations are advised.
Early spring to late fall - depending on snow conditions. Cima Sud and other south facing walls can and are climbed in winter on sunny days.