• Skålabu
  • 1840 m.
  • Near Nordfjord and Loen in Norway
  • Location: North 61:52.387, East 006:58.728
  • Completed October 2016,
  • Inaguration July 1. 2017.


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.
Route description: 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.

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 a concert.