|Get Connected! workshops||Lost Creek Llamas Blog||lost creek llamaprints publishing|
Llamas currently available
Click here to see which, IF ANY, llamas we currently have available. You can then peruse their individual pages for more details.
If you are interested in one of our llamas, please read the fine print first! We don't expect 100% memorization, but evidence of taking the effort to read and comprehend is one of the tools we use to screen buyers. We have found that people who are too busy for details are not the kind of people our llamas will be happy with.
THEN ... if any of our available llamas still interest you ...
OR ... to ask us if we know of pack llamas or pack breeding stock available elsewhere ...
OR ... to get on our waiting list† ...
Use the Contact Us button in the menu bar and send us an email. Whether you are interested in one of ours or are asking for a referral, be sure to tell us about you and your needs:
• your location *
• your packing (backcountry) experience
• your llama experience (and other large animal handling experience)
• what you believe you are looking for (based on the descriptions below) **
Experienced packers have multiple seasons on the trail. Capable of passing at least PLTA MPL requirements without conditioning other than proper weight maintenance. Some of these animals may have actual MPL or EPL certification depending on the owners' available time. These llamas, IF available, command premium prices until age 17-20.
Some llamas advertised as "experienced" are from commercial packing operations. These llamas should be screened for flexibility to work in other settings, including but not limited to the ability to be calm and comfortable away from other llamas, and the ability to negotiate terrain without another llama to act as an example.
Green packers have at least one season on the trail (meaning they are at least 5 years old!): more than started, less than experienced. They are capable of passing at least PLTA MPL requirements without conditioning other than proper weight maintenance.
Green packers are good for people with llama experience who don't want to waste a year or more on the hassles of training trips or risk that an untried llama won't work out, but also don't want to spend the extra money for an experienced pack llama. Green packers can also be a good choice for people with large animal experience but little or no llama-specific experience.
A light-duty packer is a llama that will wear a pack and carry a moderate load for a few miles over moderate terrain, such as the BPL PLTA certification level. Examples of limited-duty packers are llamas capable of normal packing, but not suitable for harsh weather or requiring a llama companion on the trail.
Most advertised "pack llamas" fit into this category. Most are not certified in any way, and many are better described as "light duty pack prospects," perhaps having been briefly introduced to wearing a pack saddle around the farm. People who are already hiking and packing enthusiasts will not find light-duty packers satisfactory.
Started packers typically have trail experience but lack the full gammut of skills, usually those that are accumulated through multiple overnight and multi-day pack trips.
Typical started packers benefit from handlers that have knowledge and confidence, solid large animal handling experience, and backcountry experience.
Some started packers' training will have emphasized accepting, trusting, and working with multiple handlers over acquiring specific skills. This is actually more important for new llama owners, and well worth any "occupational skill deficit" tradeoffs.
A pack prospect is just that — someone has deemed it likely to be a packer, but the llama has no experience and no guarantees.
If the "someone" has a proven track record and the llama's parents (and any sibs) are proven packers, the odds are fairly good for a satisfactory outcome.
A "pack prospect" that doesn't lead well, can't or won't keep up with his/her handler, and/or isn't comfortable with basic handling and loading in a vehicle is NOT a pack prospect — it's an untrained llama, period.
This category includes pack llamas with extra or unusual training, pack llamas with extraordinary abilities, and pack llamas trained to be driven in harness.
Examples of "extra training" include the ability to work intelligently in a string (that is, responding to hand signals and/or verbal directions, not just "being strung"), or making water crossings on remote (verbal or hand signal) direction alone.
Examples of "extraordinary abilities" would be a llama capable of packing sunup to sundown day after day, or a llama trustworthy enough to carry a handicapped child rider.
Actual working pack llamas suitable for breeding pack llamas are also hard to come by. Claims of pack breeding stock for sale, on the other hand, are very easy to find.
True pack breeding stock will be proven on the trail (meaning they are fully mature, at least 4-5 years old), will have at least MPL certification (or can prove equivalency), and either have produced living offspring or carry a guarantee of reproductive soundness.
"Garbage in, garbage out" applies 100% (if not more!) to breeding pack llamas. A pretty good companion rule is ... you get what you pay for.
Classic llamas have traditionally been bred as pack llamas, but even within the best breeding programs, individuals may or may not measure up — they may be packers but not Classic-coated ... or they may be Classic-coated, but washouts as packers. This is unavoidable — ALL breeders of working animals experience a certain failure rate.
Showring awards don't reflect packing ability (rather the opposite), and awards in the "classic" show divisions DO NOT mean that a llama is actually Classic.
"Ccara" refers to a llama screened by NACA. The owners have paid money to enter the llama into the NACA "registry". We do not condone or participate in NACA.
NACA criteria has much in common with the showring, evaluating llamas off the trail first. Adequate and even extraordinary pack llamas who fail the aesthetic criteria don't receive further consideration. See Gold'n Hawk for an exceptional pack llama whose photo NACA uses to exemplify "reject" (they never met, let alone packed with him).
If this approach appeals to you, please contact NACA directly.
The PLTA has four levels of certification — Basic, Advanced, Master, and Extreme. Ignore the level titles — read the criteria carefully to understand what these llamas have (and have not) done!
To earn certification, llamas must pass a trial at that level four times (including handling tests), or three times after passing the previous level. Although not all llamas of a specific level are equal, these certifications prove certain capabilities that cannot be faked. Check the PLTA website to verify that a particular llama has actually earned certification (the website can lag behind several months, FYI).
** Hint — Did you pay attention to the age ranges? If they surprised you, did you do some more research? We have a special key for people whose requests for llamas indicate they are convinced llamas age at the same rate as dogs ... DELETE.
† We are preparing to suspend all breeding after 2013 or 2014 (for 2014 or 2015 births). Possible (probable) involuntary job schedule changes mean we will no longer have someone here to monitor births and newborns. We are unwilling to lose any of our llama friends or allow them to suffer needlessly, and we've already seen exactly how this can happen in the unusual event of birthing complications. Translation — the waiting list will also be suspended, and we cannot even guarantee we will have llamas from the 2012-2015 production years that we can afford to part with.