Skårfast | means stuck on a mountain ledge in Norwegian | Norway

Skårfast is a Norwegian adjective that means that a person or an animal is stuck on a steep mountain- or cliff-side shelf, and in need of being rescued.
LA Dahlmann | talk NORWAY
Are these sheep stuck on a mountain shelf? | © Jakob - stock.adobe.com.
Are these sheep skårfaste - stuck on a mountain shelf? | © Jakob - stock.adobe.com.

Pronunciation

Skårfast

The grammar

A compound word made up of the noun skår and the adjective fast | adjective.

What does the word mean?

Skår: means in this context a steep mountain- or cliff-side shelf or crack.
Fast: means in this context to be stuck, as in unable to move away from the current location: å sitte fast.
Skårfast: means to be stuck on a steep mountain- or cliff-side shelf, unable to move either up or down, and in need of being rescued.

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.

More on the traditional context

A land full of mountains and cliffs

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.

Could be fatal

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. Sadly, this also sometimes happens in our own time.

Helicopters to the rescue

Today, mobile phones enable people to sound the alert, and they are often rescued by a helicopter lifting them to safety. Farm-animals who have gotten themselves into a pickle are also often air-lifted out, assuming they get spotted in time and are possible to reach.

Examples from books and stories

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 summer pasture in the mountains. The sheep-owners have a tough job getting the «woollen bags» safely down the steepest sections of the landscape. 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 nb.no | Einar Haugen’s Norwegian-English dictionary | Det Norske Akademis ordbok | Bokmålsordboka and Nynorskordboka.

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