Lukas about his life as a shepherd

EPISODE 1 - A summer on the alp

Lukas Hartenberg from Hamburg is a shepherd on Alp Cristallina near the Lukmanier Pass in western Graubünden. He spends his summer all alone with the animals and lives under very simple conditions in his hut, the Stavel dil Laiets. From there he moves with his 1,300 sheep and 120 goats through a very extensive area that stretches from narrow valley floors over wide plateaus up to the foothills of the glaciers.

In our series of episodes "A summer on the alp", Lukas talks about his duties as a shepherd, his experiences with the animals and the daily challenges that the lonely, barren life in the mountains brings with it.

The wool for the lavalan wool insulation comes exclusively from the Central and Northern European countries of Norway, Sweden, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Sheep farming in Switzerland enables the sheep to live freely and carefree on wide alpine pastures with access to protein-rich food in the summer months. This ensures healthy, uniform wool growth, which is an important criteria for the lavalan product quality.

Hello Lukas, we would be happy if you would briefly introduce yourself.

I am Lukas and I'm a shepherd on Alp Cristallina. I have 1300 sheep and 120 goats. I also have 4 large white livestock guardian dogs because there are wolves here in the region from time to time. I also have a little herding dog that helps me herd the sheep.

Is this your first time with sheep on an alp?

Exactly! This is my first time with sheep. Before that I always worked with cows and in the last few years I was on an alp in Switzerland in the summer. I'm actually a sculptor.

How exactly did you end up here on Alp Cristallina?

It kind of just happened to me. I was definitely looking for an alp to go to again, but there wasn't one that I really liked. I actually didn't have sheep on my radar at all, but then I just got the request from up here and whether I could imagine going with sheep and then I thought, why not? I'll give it a try. And that's how I ended up here.