The Torri del Sella are a group of slender towers of "dolomia" located in the Sella Group and they are famous all over the world in reason of their shape, the beauty of climbing and the wonderful views over the Sella and the surrounding mountains. The spires lie above the namesake alpine pass in the Dolomites, located between Sella and Sassolungo Groups and connecting Val di Fassa and Val Gardena. The towers are five in number, though the most frequented are the first three ones.
Although not often climbed and a little less known than its sisters, the Quarta Torre di Sella (Fourth Sella Tower) is a bold and slender spire that absolutely deserves to be climbed, located North of the Terza Torre (Third Tower) and leaning against the wall of the massive Piz Ciavazes. For this last reason it appears not very individualized and attached to the Piz Ciavazes, but it is actually a tower completely detached and stand-alone, separate from the bulk of Piz Ciavazes by two deep and steep rifts.
There are four climbing routes on Quarta Torre, including the Normal Route followed by the first summiters in the year 1906, but the most frequently climbed ones are the challenging Malsiner-Moroder on the North wall and the easier Gluck on the W wall.
The starting point of the approach path is Passo Sella m 2240, which can be reached either from Canazei either by Selva di Val Gardena.
Road access to 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 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. About 5 km passed Selva di Val Gardena the road forks; turn to right (signpost 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. About 5 km passed Selva di Val Gardena the road forks; take the road on the right (signpost Passo Sella), reaching the pass
Malsiner - Moroder (North wall of Quarta Torre del Sella) route report - UIAA SCALE
Summit altitude: m. 2981
Difficulty: TD+, UIAA VI+
Climbing length: 400 m
Equipment: the pegs at belays are on site, as well as some pegs along the pitches, needed quick protections to integrate
First ascent: Vincenz Malsiner and Ludwig Moroder 1961, October 14th
Starting point: Passo Sella
Beautiful classic climb, difficult and homogeneous, running in the center of the yellow-gray North wall, with some fantastic pitches in the middle. Very beautiful rock. The climb requires a good level of difficulty as it has several few protected VI+ UIAA steps.
Approach from Passo Sella 2240 m
From Passo Sella take the well worn path n. 649, addressed to Via Ferrata Mesules, and continue further the first three towers. Once below the Fourth Tower leave the path n. 649 and follow to the right the trace rising along the scree in the direction of the North face of tower. Start on a gray slab approximately in the middle of the North wall, about 30 m to the right of the chimney-channel that separates the Fourth Tower from the Piz Ciavazes (45 minutes from Passo Sella).
L1 - Climb a little to the right for about 50 meters up to a ledge with 2 stopping pegs, IV, V, 50 m
L2 - Directly on the wall above the stop and after about 30 m traverse to the right and reach a large niche with some stopping pegs, VI, 45 m
L3 - Exit the niche to the left and climb a dihedral, then traverse to the left, VI, V +, 30 m
L4 - Climb up the dihedral above the stance, exit left and reach another dihedral, beyond which you need to traverse right to reach the stop, VI, 30 m
L5 - Slanting left, then return back again to the right towards easier rocks, V +, 25 m
L6 - Definitely slanting left about 30 m, III
L7 - Climb an overhanging wall (pegs), at the end traverse right and reach the base of the dihedral cutting the upper part of the wall, VI + (or VI and A0), 30 m. Crux pitch
L8 - L9 Along the dihedral, turning in the upper part into a chimney, get the summit, V, IV +, 80 m
Final variant: an easier alternative to the last dihedral is possible, traversing to the right towards the NW ridge and climb up more easily along the ridge, IV, III +, 90 m
Descent: the descent is long an requires prudence. It's done entirely by rapping down the steep wide chimney between Fourth Sella Tower and Piz Ciavazes. From the summit head to East (towards Piz Ciavazes wall) to get the first abseil anchor. Nine abseil 20 and 25 meters long lead on the scree gully at the bottom of West face. Pay attention to the length of the 2 ropes used to abseil. 50 meters are just enough along a few abseils, so it's rather advisable to bring two ropes 55 or 60 meters long.
Rope 2x55, helmet, quickdraws, a complete set of friends, excentrics, slings
No particular restrictions in climbing and hiking
The route Malsiner - Moroder is located inside a cool and shady setting, so the best time to climb is the full summer.
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.
"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
"Arrampicare in Val Gardena e dintorni - Le vie più belle nelle Dolomiti" Vol. I by Mauro Bernardi - Ed. Athesia