If you ever wondered just how cold Yukon gets in the wintertime, remember that Gold Rush star Tony Beets once had to thaw out the oil in his bulldozers before he could start them. This season, Beets is aiming to bring resume his previous operations along the Indian River. Meanwhile, one of his crew members will continue mining at Paradise Hill, doubling the successful miner’s efforts. Beets hopes that he will see 9,000 ounces of gold from this season. If he succeeds, he could see up to $16.2 million.
With such an ambitious goal, the Gold Rush star knows that he needs to do whatever it takes to dig deep underground and find another supply of metal. That means dropping a lot of money on new equipment that will help increase the team’s efficiency. So, Beets called up his machinery supplier and talked pricing for a brand new excavator, hoping to stay within his $4 million budget.
“You’re a go-big-or-go-home type of guy, aren’t you?” asked Jason Wilneff of Great Western Equipment.
Wilneff convinced the Gold Rush star to purchase a 100-ton 950 excavator for a whopping $1.1 million. And that was the easy part. Next, Beets had to clear an area for the new piece of equipment at camp. And in -22 degree weather, that was going to be a difficult task.
How the ‘Gold Rush’ Crew Used a Military Parachute to Heat Up Equipment
While Beets usually uses his bulldozers to move paydirt, this time, he filled the buckets with 400 tons of snow. But before he could even think of where to push the frozen water, he had to make sure that the vehicles could start.
Already anticipating that the well-below freezing temperatures would freeze the dozer’s oil, Beets came prepared. He rigged up a heater beside the 700-horsepower D-10 bulldozer. Then he placed a 50-foot army parachute over both machines and fired up the heater. Soon, the Gold Rush star managed to thaw out the oil in the bulldozer. So, he sent his daughter, Monica, to the driver’s seat and told her to start up the dozer.
But then the D-10 began emitting billows of black smoke, and the Gold Rush crew knew something wasn’t right. Thankfully, it was an easy fix, though. Beets added five bottles of unfrozen oil to the machine, and sure enough, the dozer turned over.
“That is the kind of effort you have to go through when you show up early in the Yukon and you have minus 30,” Beets said, referring to the frigid temperatures.
Without further delay, the Gold Rush star instructed a crew member to begin clearing the area while Beets, himself, unlatched the gate. Now, all they had to do was wait for their new excavator.