The Norwegian word skårfast - stuck on a mountain ledge. | © Jakob Schultz -

The Norwegian word skårfast - stuck on a mountain ledge. | © Jakob Schultz -

Norwegian words | Skårfast | Stuck on a mountain ledge

Skårfast is a Norwegian adjective. It means that a person or an animal is stuck on a steep mountain or cliff-side ledge - and is in need of being rescued.
By LA Dahlmann | The Evergreen Post

Getting to know the word

Skårfast is composed of two words: skår + fast = skårfast

In this context, skår – a noun – means a steep mountain or cliff-side shelf or crack.

In this context, fast – an adjective – means to be stuck, as in unable to move away from the current location: å sitte fast.

The word skårfast can also be used figuratively, about a situation where a person is puzzled or perplex – or about a situation where there is no obvious solution.


Norway is a land full of mountains and cliffs, and every year, both people and animals get stuck on steep mountainside shelves when moving through the terrain. Somehow, they have managed to ascend or descend to a spot impossible to get away from.

In the olden days, unless someone was able to locate and help the poor souls, either by getting them down or up the mountain side using ropes, or by being able to guide them off the mountain in some other way, they were doomed and often lost their lives.

Today, mobile phones enable people to sound the alert, and they are often rescued by a helicopter, airlifting them to safety.

Domestic animals that have gotten themselves into a pickle, are also often air-lifted out, assuming they get spotted in time and are possible to reach.

Example texts

Alf Terje Myklebust | Sunnhordland: liv og landskap 1992:
→ I september vert sauene henta heim frå sommarbeite i fjellet. Det kan vera ein tøff jobb for saueeigarane å få «ullsekkane» velberga ned dei brattaste partia. Ikkje sjeldan går sauene seg skårfast i fjellet og må bergast med tau.
→ In September, the sheep are brought back home from the summer pasture in the mountains. The sheep-owners have a tough job getting the «woollen bags» safely down the steepest sections. Often, the sheep end up being skårfast and must be rescued using ropes.

Sogningen-Sogns Avis 1992:
→ Det vart i går ettermiddag sendt ut fjellklatrarar for å hente ned ein turist som hadde gått seg skårfast i den bratte fjellsida over Flåm.
→ Yesterday afternoon, mountain climbers were sent out to rescue a tourist who was skårfast in the steep mountainside above Flåm.

Sources: Nasjonalbiblioteket | Haugen, Einar. Norwegian English dictionary. The University of Wisconsin Press 1967, 1974. | Det Norske Akademis ordbok | Ordbøkene | EGP.00054

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