Sella Towers belong to the extensive Sella Group, Mesules Subgroup and overlook the namesake alpine pass in the Dolomites. This latter is located between Sassolungo and Sella groups and connects the village of Canazei in Val di Fassa and Selva in Val Gardena. The towers are five in number, though the most famous are the first three ones. In reason of the scenic beauty and the well worthy climbing routes, as well as the proximity to the Sella Pass and consequently the quick approach, they are one of the most popular destination in Western Dolomites. The most climbed peak is First Sella Tower, the closest cliff to the pass, but also Second Tower is greatly popular, offering a wide variety of excellent rock climbing in a superb alpine setting. Amongst the numberless routes running on its faces, one of the best classic climbs is Via Kasnapoff. This climb is definitely a worthy outing and runs at first on the right hand of a superb steep wall facing North, built of excellent carved rock and rich in handholds. In the second section the route runs just nearby the ridge facing North-West and delimitating the N wall on the right.
The starting point of the approach path is Passo Sella (Jëuf de Sela in ladin, Sellajoch in german) m 2240, which can be reached either from Canazei either by Selva di Val Gardena.
- From Bolzano North follow the road to the little town of Ponte Gardena. From here take the road entering Val Gardena, pass Ortisei and reach Selva di Val Gardena. After 5,2 km from Selva di Val Gardena the road forks; turn to right (signpost Passo Sella), reaching the Passo Sella
- From Trento follow the A22 Brennero Motorway towards North, exit Egna-Ora and follow the road S51 towards Fassa Valley, getting to Cavalese, Predazzo, Moena and Canazei. Here take the road to Passo Sella, reaching the pass
- From Brennero Pass take the A22 Brennero Motorway towards South, exit Chiusa and then follow the roadway joining the Val Gardena road, pass Ortisei and Selva di Val Gardena. After 5,2 km from Selva di Val Gardena the road forks; take the road on the right (signpost Passo Sella), reaching the pass
Summit altitude: m. 2598
Difficulty: max UIAA V
Climbing length: 360 m
Equipment: pegs and natural protections, equipped belays
Exposure: N and NW
First ascent: Mrs von Kasnapoff and M. Zelger 1913
Starting point: Passo Sella m 2240
A great outing on a highly satisfactory classic route, providing an exciting climbing up a superb steep wall on excellent carved "dolomia" rich in holds. Different variants exist and the climb requires a bit of istinct to find the correct route. It's advisable to bring a good report
From Passo Sella take the path n. 649, addressed to Mesules Via Ferrata, getting the neighborhood of Seconda Torre North-West ridge. A well worn track leads to the base of the steep North Face of the tower. The route starts nearby just to the right of a commemorative plaque fixed on the wall. 30 minutes from Passo Sella
L1 - From the plaque up slanting right, then climb a short wall cut by a vague crack and traverse right in the direction of NW ridge reaching a stance below a steep wall. III, IV, 3 pegs, 40 m.
L2 – From the terrace climb slanting right, then return left before reaching the ridge; return right again, getting to a niche where is situated the belay, just above the vertical of the previous stance. IV+, 3 pegs, 20 m.
L3 – Climb a steep slab to the left of the stance, then directly to the third belay. IV, IV-, 35 m., 3 pegs
L4 – Traverse 3 meters right, then climb a corner-crack and a ramp slanting left. IV, IV-, 35 m., 3 pegs
L5 – Up the ramp again, reaching a gully and belay at the base of a dihedral. IV-, 25 m.
L6 – A pitch requiring a good nose to find the best route. Don’t climb the dihedral but traverse definitely 4 meters to the right below a slab surmounted by an overhanging band. Climb the slab slanting right getting to the overhanging band and climb it along a short corner slanting right, reaching a stance to the right. IV+, 2 pegs, 35 m.
L7 - Up to the right of the stance, then return left to the next stance. IV, 15 m., 1 peg and 1 hole.
L8 – Climb the little overhang on the right of the stance, then straightly reaching a triangular small terrace. IV, IV-, 25 m., 3 pegs
L9 – Slanting right to a prominent little overhang. Climb it directly and enter a superb corner, following it with great climb to the stance, IV+, V-, 40 m., 3 pegs and various holes.
L10 – Up the short wall above the stance, getting to a scree terrace. Continue on the wall above the terrace and belay near a jammed block. IV, IV-, 50 m., 1 peg
L11 – Up a wall slanting left and the crest above. Belay on an outcrop. III, 35 m.
L12 – On easier rocks along the summit crest, getting the top. Summit book. II, 20 m.
Descent: along Second Sella Tower Normal route, joining in the lower section the standard route of First Sella Tower. From the summit head to North and reaching an anchor above a chimney. Dowclimb Piz Ciavazes (III) or do an abseil, reaching a rocky notch, then walk and scramble down toward Piz Ciavazes (cairns), to the notch between First Tower and Second Tower. Pass across the notch, then continue traversing right on an exposed trail and reaching a fork. Downclimb towards right (II UIAA), getting the trail coming from Cengia dei Camosci (Piz Ciavazes), then reaching an anchor on a terrace. An advisable short 25 m. rappel leads on the path on the base of the tower.
No particular restrictions in climbing and hiking
Rope 2x50, some quick draws, some slings. The route is equipped by pegs, bring normal climbing equipment and a selection of cams and wires to integrate the protections along the pitches.
|Rock Climbing Rating Systems|
The closest place to overnight is Passo Sella, otherwise there are numerous huts, hotels, apartments and campsites both in Val di Fassa and Val Gardena sides: you can stay in Canazei, a primary resort in Val di Fassa, or Selva di Val Gardena. Nearest accomodation:
- Passo Sella
- Pian Schiavaneis (along the road from Canazei to Sella Pass)
A shady and cool setting. Best season is full summer
"Gruppo di Sella" by Fabio Favaretto and Andrea Zannini - Collana Guide dei Monti d'Italia CAI-TCI
"Arrampicare Dolomiti Nord-Occidentali" Vol. I by M.Bertolotti - L. Galbiati - F. Vascellari - Collana Mountain Geographic