How to get there:
Skåla is a very distinct mountain that dominates the view from the
innermost part of Nordfjord. The road to the trailhead starts right next to
the (luxurious) Hotel Alexandra in Loen, a small village between Olden and
Stryn. Follow this road (the sign may read Kjenndal and/or Bødalsseter),
for about one kilometer and look carefully for a small (dirt) road that goes left
just passed a farmer's field. There should be a small sign at this road
saying "Skåla". There is a signed parking area on the right hand
side of the main road, just opposite. There are information signs and a self serve
toll for parking, NOK 40 in 2017.
The trail climbs through forest on the left (west) side of the creek
Fosdøla and passes a small seter (summer farm house called Tjugen) at about 300
meter elevation. The trail continues up the main valley on the left side of the main river
until about 650 m elevation, here the trail crosses the river on a bridge and heads north-east, later
south up to a small lake, Skålavatnet (1142 m) with Vesleskåla (1238 m)
on your right (west) side. From here the trail is well marked with cairns leading
towards a very distinct saddle at about 1400m (note that one shall not
ski all the way to this saddle, only to the point where the steep climb gives way
to more moderate terrain.) The trail makes a 90 degree turn left just as the slope levels off and climbs
the broad Skåla ridge. This ridge narrows as one approaches the summit with
Skålatårnet and the new hut Skålabu.
The old tower was not suitable for the increased winter use.
It is basically impossible to heat in winter, due to the very thick stone walls. Moreover, it was discovered
that repeated heating and freezing caused damage to the old walls. The Skåla tower must be regarded as a
historical and cultural heritage that must be protected and preserved for the future.
In 2016, it was decided to build a new mountain hut on the Skåla mountain, next to the
125 year old Skåla tower.
To build a modern hut at 1848 meter with the prevailing wind and weather is a challenge. The budget for a new
hut was 6 MNOK, a large sum to achieve. Fortunately, many organizations and private individuals teamed
up to finance the project.
Erling Bjørstads Stiftelse made a major contribution
of 2 MNOK.
The hut was designed by architect Eilif Bjørge receiving zero compensation for the work. The hut was built
by carpenter Bjørn Vike - a very experienced man with regards to building huts in the
high mountains. He is also a close friend of the famous mountaineer Odd Eliassen, also a carpenter.
Odd was the first Norwegian to climb Everest (with Bjørn Myrer Lund).
The hut was completed in mid October 2016. I was honored to be asked to serve on a committee to decide the
name of the new hut. Several hundred suggestions had been received. We quickly came to the conclusion
that the new hut should be called Skålabu.
The hut is open all year, no key required. The hut is fully equipped with a large food supply, a complete kitchen,
3 bedroom downstairs and additional beds upstairs, altogether 20. An extra supply of 10 matresses makes room for
up to 30. In the summer months, the Skåla tower provides additional capacity of at least 15 extra slots for sleeping.
I travelled to Skåla on Friday June 30th. to attend the opening of the hut.
The official inaguration was set for July 1-2, 2017. I arrived at the parking below
Skåla late in the night of July 1., having climbed Eggjenipa late
on Friday evening on my way from Bergen.
Thus, on Saturday, July 1., I started out with 3 other guests at 1100. With a good rest above the lake, we arrived
at Skålabu at 1430. More snow that normal for July, pretty continuous snow cover from the lake
at around 1200 meter.
Saturday evening should feature a gourmet dinner prepared by our well known mountain chef Bjørn-Olav
Hagesether. A full 3-course dinner with white and red wine followed by a late evening party.
However, first the official opening, I was extremely
honored to be asked to cut the red ribbon with
a brand new knife purchased for the purpose.
On Sunday, July 2nd. it was open house and everybody were invited to a public inaguration ceremony.
Lots of people had taken the long and strenuous uphill hike in order to participate.
The ceremony started at 1400, with a local "kvedar", Kristoffer Haugen from Hornindal blowing a fanfare
on a long traditional lur (Norwegian Alpenhorn).
Next, he song a special song to Skålabu, written
for the occasion. Once more a red ribbon was attached across the entrance and I was asked to say
a few words and cut it with the special knife (photo: Torill Refsdal Aase).
Everyone was invited indoors and after a few speeches,
it was time for a small concert by Britt Pernille Frøholm. She had arrived a bit late, it is not
often that she packs her fiddle in a backback and then climbs 1800 vertical meter in order to give
made more than 100 years ago to facilitate the hike to the