The well known Sella Towers 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 much less famous of its sisters, Quarta Torre di Sella (Fourth Sella Tower) is a bold and slender spire, located North of the Terza Torre and leaning against the wall of the massive Piz Ciavazes. For this reason it appears in fact not very individualized, but actually it's a tower completely detached and independent, separate from the bulk of Piz Ciavazes by two deep and steep rifts. The proximity to the Sella Pass, the rock quality, the beauty of the climbing routes and the superb alpine setting truly make Fourth Sella Tower a destination fully advisable. Certainly it has nothing to envy to the other more popular towers.
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.
- 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
Approach from Passo Sella 2240 m
From Passo Sella take the well worn path n. 649, addressed to the "Via Ferrata Mesules", and continue further the first three towers. At the scree slope that separates the Third Tower from the Fourth Tower, leave the path n. 649 and follow to the right the trace rising along the scree in the direction of the tower. 40 minutes from Passo Sella
Quarta Torre di Sella routes overview
There are four climbing routes on Fourth Sella Tower, including the Normal Route followed by the first summiters in the year 1906, but the most frequently climbed routes are these two ones:
- Glück UIAA IV, a section grading V- UIAA, 250 m - M. Demetz, Ferdinand Glück, Hula Tutino Steel 1929, September 30
A worthy classic route running on West wall. It's a fine climb not too sustained with several very interesting pitches. It presents classic difficulties around the IV UIAA with a section grading V-. The line is superb in the middle of the face and the rock is generally very good, the belays are numerous and virtually all of them are equipped for a possible abseiling retreat. On the contrary along the pitches there are few pegs, so you need to integrate with some quick protections.
- Malsiner-Moroder UIAA V, VI and A0 (or VI+ and A0) - Vincenz Malsiner and Ludwig Moroder 1961, october 14th
This route runs on the North wall and belongs to an other order of difficulties. The climb is sustained and the grades are around the VI UIAA (or VI+ and A0). The starting point is about in the middle of the North wall on a gray slab, to the right of the gully that separates the tower from Piz Ciavazes. The route climbs the narrow an challenging North wall, vertical or overhanging, following the weak points of the wall and heading to a dihedral-chimney cutting the upper section of the wall.
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.
No particular restrictions in climbing and hiking
Fourth Sella Tower West and North walls are located inside a cool and shady setting, so the best time to climb is the full summer.
The closest place to stay 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