Tackling The Legendary Via Ferrata Torre Di Toblin In Tre Cime Nature Park In The Italian Dolomites

A while ago a friend of mine posted a video on her Instagram tackling one of the many via ferratas in the Italian Dolomites. At the time I was making the plan for my journey. I promptly asked her about the route.

Her answer was: Torre di Toblin, along with the assurance that it was an easy via ferrata. She didn’t mention using the easier exit route to climb both ways. Today I will share with you the complete route.

Everything to know about Via Ferrata Torre Di Toblin

Via Ferrata Torre Di Toblin 2

Via Ferrata Torre di Toblin bears another, official name – “delle Scalette”, however everyone I met, including the staff at the nearby alpine hut call it Torre di Toblin or Toblinger Knoten (German). The ferrata leads to the top of the mountain of the same name. The translation to English is the Tower of Toblin.

The route bore witness to many atrocities of the First World War. The summit of Torre Di Toblin was used by the Austrian soldiers as an observation post.

Did you know? More Italian and Austrian soldiers died from exposure, starvation, and avalanches during the Mountain War of 1915-17 than in actual combat. 

Via Ferrata Torre Di Toblin: The Stats

Via Ferrata Torre Di Toblin 3
  • Distance: 1.8 km / 1.2 mi (not including hut approach)
  • Elevation gain: ca. 200 m / 656 ft (not including hut approach)
  • Time required: 1.5 – 2 hours
  • Via ferrata difficulty: intermediate
  • When to go: mid-June – October
  • Map required: Tabacco Map no 10 (Dolomiti Di Sesto)

How to reach Via Ferrata Torre Di Toblin (Toblinger Knoten)

  • Yellow trail: Via Ferrata Torre Di Toblin
  • Blue trail: Tre Cime Circuit
  • Purple trail: Croda Fiscalina Circuit

Via Ferrata Torre Di Toblin starts near Rifugio Locatelli – one of the most photogenic mountain huts in the Dolomites. The hut lies in the heart of the Tre Cime Nature Park and is a popular destination amongst hikers. There are many routes you can take to reach it. Below I enlisted a few options.

Option 1: Follow the Tre Cime circuit trail

  • Distance: 9.5 km / 5.9 mi
  • Walking time: 4-5 h
  • Elevation gain: ca. 400 m / 1300 ft
  • Trail color on the map: blue

The quickest and easiest way to reach Rifugio Locatelli is to follow the Tre Cime Circuit counterclockwise. The trail starts at Rifugio Auronzo.

You can reach Rifugio Auronzo via a private toll road or by public transport which leaves from either Misurina or Cortina D’Ampezzo. You can find all the details in my Tre Cime Circuit guide.

From Rifugio Auronzo follow path no. 101, along the south face of Tre Cime and across Forcella Lavaredo. You should reach the Locatelli Hut in ca. 1,5 hours.

Option 2: Follow the Croda Fiscalina circuit trail

  • Distance: 19.2 km / 11.9 mi
  • Walking time: 8-10 hours
  • Elevation gain: 1180 m / 3870 ft
  • Trail color on the map: purple
Croda Fiscalina Circuit Summer 4
Hiking through Fiscalina Valley

Another way to reach the Locatelli hut is to follow the Croda Fiscalina Circuit trail. Albeit longer, this trail is less frequented and even more spectacular. This is one of my favorite hikes in the Tre Cime Nature Park. Locatelli Hut lies halfway along the Croda Fiscalina Circuit Trail and you should reach it within 4 hours of leaving the trailhead.

TIP: Stay overnight in one of the huts in the Tre Cime Nature Park and explore more via ferrata routes nearby including Innerkofler, Strada Degli Alpini, or Severino Casara.

Option 3: Via ferrata Torre Di Toblin as extension to Alta Via 4

Alta Via 4 Day 3 2 1
Hiking along Alta Via 4 with the south faces of Tre Cime in the background

Rifugio Locatelli lies along the famous Alta Via 4 traverse which begins in the Puster Valley in the north and finishes in the town of Pozzale in the southern Dolomites. Alta Via 4 takes 5-6 days to complete and via ferrata Torre Di Toblin can be done as a small extension to the route.

Via Ferrata Torre di Toblin (Toblinger Knoten): brief route description

Don’t let the mere 200 meters of elevation gain fool you. It was the very first via ferrata I did in the Dolomites and I honestly thought it would be my last.

As luck would have it, we experienced a decent snowfall a couple of nights before and the melting snow froze overnight. Because the route faces north, it hardly sees any sun. The perfect recipe for icy conditions.

Once you reach Rifugio Locatelli, take a rest and get ready for the fun ahead! The ferrata starts directly behind the hut and it is marked with signs.

For the first 20 minutes walk up to a small saddle from where you get a clear view of Torre di Toblin straight ahead of you. I remember looking at it for the first time and telling myself that I am crazy to even think I could make it to the top.

You then have to loop clockwise around the tower, along the narrow ledge to its north side. Torre Di Toblin will be on your right-hand side the whole time. Eventually, you’ll come to a halt and notice a set of cables going straight up.

Up until now, It was easy, but the challenge is about to begin. This is where you can put on your harness and attach your lanyard. Since it was the first ferrata I’ve ever done I found the first few meters of the cable section difficult.

After navigating through gullies, along ladders and holds for around 40 minutes I made it to the top, relieved and in one piece. Considering I had zero prior ferrata experience, I thought I did well. I know today that it was certainly not the best pick for my first via ferrata.

The descent is along the eastern wall and takes only 45 minutes. It’s also A LOT easier than the way up and some people choose this as the ascent & descent route. I wouldn’t however recommend it, because it can create traffic, and passing people when attached to a cable can be dangerous.

Shop my via ferrata gear essentials

Black Diamond Helmet

Rockfall is a major concern on via ferrata routes. Unbeknownst to you, other climbing groups above you may accidentally dislodge a small rock and send it down the mountain. If it hits you on the head, it could have serious consequences. A helmet on your head (not inside your backpack) is necessary.

Shop on: Amazon (Worldwide) / Backcountry (US)

71gKk4U+f2S. AC SL1500

Black Diamond Momentum Harness

Another must-have on a via ferrata route is a climbing harness. A harness works as an anchor point for your via ferrata lanyard. Try it before your trip to ensure it fits snugly without limiting your movements. Aim for a lightweight harness that will be comfortable to wear between the cable-protected sections when hiking.

edelrid basis cable kit special via ferrata set

Edelrid, Camp or Black Diamond Via Ferrata Lanyard

A via ferrata lanyard connects the climber and their harness to the cables along the route. Its two arms and a hidden extra coil work as an energy absorption system in case of a fall by reducing the stress on the climber. The two carabiners at the end of the lanyard are used to clip into the cable. Make sure the carabiners are equipped with the palm squeeze mechanism. It’s the safest and most comfortable.

Shop on Amazon (Worldwide) / Backcountry (US)

91P0f6XnFML. AC SL1500

Black Diamond Crag Gloves

The gloves are meant to protect your hands from any cuts and scratches you may otherwise get if you haul yourself on the cable without them. I prefer full-fingered gloves for extra protection against blisters.

Shop on: Amazon (Worldwide) / Backcountry (US)

salewa womens wildfire edge approach shoes detail 6

Salewa Wildfire Edge Approach Shoes

My go-to pair of hiking shoes for easier trails or via ferrata, where I don’t need extra ankle support. They provide excellent grip on the rock and are very durable.

Shop on: Amazon (Worldwide) / Backcountry (US)

reeloq

Reeloq Smartphone Securing System

If you want to take great photos on a via ferrata without worrying about losing your phone, Reeloq is the best tool for it. It’s a smartphone-securing system that allows you to use your phone on any adventure. This has been a great addition to my tool arsenal.

Shop on: REELOQ

Other hikes & via ferratas in the Tre Cime Nature Park

Support my website!

Hi Reader! If you found any of my articles about the Dolomites useful please consider using the affiliate links below (at no extra cost) when booking your holiday. Thank you

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below!

Marta
Marta

Hi! I am the photographer and creator of www.inafarawayland.com. I come from Poland, but I've been living, travelling and working around the globe since I turned 18. A few years ago, during one of my trips to Scotland, I bought my first DSLR and my adventure with photography began. When I am not stuck to my computer editing photos, you can find me hiking somewhere in the mountains.

10 Comments

  1. Hello,
    Excellent website and advice. How easy is it to buy or rent the via Ferrata lanyard in the area? We brought some of our climbing gear (harness, slings, carabiners, helmets) but do not have a proper lanyard. After seeing the images I am starting to think we will need one.
    Thanks for all your advice.

    • Hi Katja. You can definitely rent via ferrata lanyard in Cortina. They also sell them there. There are a plenty of sports shops in Cortina D’Ampezzo. And yes lanyard is a must have on a via ferratas, a staple really 🙂

  2. Hi,

    we have found your guides incredibly useful while researching and hiking through the Dolomites! Quick question, we just completed Ferrata Punta Anna which we were told was an “easy” step up from a beginner to intermediate Ferrata. We found it super exposed, very long, and not very easy! Have you done this one? I can’t find a common grading of it… if you have done it, how would you compare it to toblin?

    • Hi Jeff. Thanks for your great feedback. No I haven’t done Punta Ana yet, but from what I know and read this is one of the hardest via ferratas in the Dolomites, so you have been clearly misguided by someone. I think the grading for Punta Ana is D. It’s definitely advanced. Torre Di Toblin is very short but there are a few tricky sections, however it will definitely be a step down in difficulty level from Punta Ana. Torre Di Toblin was my very first via ferrata ever.

      • Thanks so much for your reply!!
        🫣🫣🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🫢🫢🫢
        Oh my… well that would be the gentleman at La Cooperativa di Cortina… maybe he is sick of travelers! Glad I’m not going crazy, it definitely felt VERY advanced, honestly it was downright scary… We were thinking, “jeez if this one is easy we are done for if we try an intermediate!” Thanks again!

        • No worries. What I learnt over the years is to take the local’s advice with a grain of salt, especially when they say something is ‘very easy’. They grow up in these mountains. Their perception of what’s hard and what is easy is very different to tourists. I am sure he meant no harm, but at the same time he should have definitely known better.

  3. Hi
    If you had time to do only one via ferrata, Which one would you do?
    Torre di Toblin or De Luca/Innerkofler? Or maybe some other one in the area.
    Thanks
    Lubo

    • Hi Lubo. Personally I preferred Torre Di Toblin. As for another one in the area that I liked even more are Merlone and Strada Degli Alpini. You can find both in via ferrata guide.

  4. Hello,

    We will be staying two nights in Zsigmondy hut this summer. Are there any A/B via ferrata from that hut?

    Thanks for your advice!
    Alison

    • Hi Allison. Thanks for stopping by. You can reach the Zsigmundy hut by doing the via ferrata Strada Degli Alpini. It is long, but technically very easy. The views along the ferrata are stunning. I have a guide for it in my VF section of the Italian Dolomites guide. Another one is via ferrata Innerkofler/De Luca, close to rifugio Locatelli and around 2 hour hike from rifugio Zsigmundy. There is also a ferrata around Croda Dei Toni called 12er. I have not done it myself yet, but it’s on my list. You can do it as a circuit from the hut. I recommend that you get the Tabacco map of the Sesto Dolomites (no.10) Let me know if that helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *