‘Gold Rush’ Stars Challenged by the Frigid Cold and Permafrost

by Amy Myers

The most unforgiving and unpredictable obstacles that affect the work of the Gold Rush stars are the forces of Mother Nature. While the teams aren’t afraid to work through a bit of rain or some nasty winds, the one condition that can really throw a wrench in their operations in the cold.

The reason Gold Rush crews only work from March to the end of October is that they need warm temperatures – and therefore warmer dirt to run through the sluice. If the ground is frozen, the dirt can’t break up into smaller pieces as it travels through the wash plant. As a result, the team has to wait until the ground thaws before they push it through the plant. That means less run time for the sluice and less money at the end of the week.

Needless to say, the Gold Rush teams depend on warm weather during the mining season.

So, when some unexpected cold weather added a bit of permafrost to the equation, plant bosses Mitch Blascke and Tyson Lee had to come up with a creative solution.

‘Gold Rush’ Managers Find a Way to Beat the Frost

Knowing that their boss, Parker Schnabel, didn’t want to shut down their only working sluice, Blaschke and Lee had to find a way to supply the wash plant with enough paydirt. Unfortunately, this meant that they would have to double the time it takes to transport the dirt to the sluice. So, they wouldn’t be finding nearly as much gold as they usually do. But less was still better than none at all.

So, to supply enough thawed dirt, the Gold Rush managers decided to combine two zones into one to scrape more from the surface. In order to combat the long wait times in between loads, they even recruited their own boss to operate another rock truck.

Following a few hours of hard labor, the team finally had enough dirt to run the sluice 24/7.

And the efforts paid off. Once back at basecamp, Schnabel and the leaders of his crew gathered for the gold pour, including a curious pup named Dozer. Without hesitation, Blaschke began reading off the numbers, hoping for at least a total of 200 ounces. Within seconds, the numbers jumped to triple digits, and in the end, the team earned a total of 234.60, a decent haul for such an unpredictable week.

Blaschke and Lee were proud of this number after having to rethink their entire operation. Meanwhile, Schnabel, himself, was happy with the result of their hard work, as the gold would amount to over a whopping $400,000. The haul proved that his team could be consistent even when the weather wasn’t.