Tonight’s episode of “Gold Rush” was titled “Frozen Gold.” As the episode begins at McKinnon Creek where winter has arrived, and the Hoffman crew is out of pay dirt, and bad news keeps coming. The gamble to use the dirt from the haul road did not pay off and now the sluice box on Monster Red is frozen solid. At the moment with little time, they must spend it thawing the sluices. Dave needs to find more dirt to keep the season alive. Andy is digging test holes for Dave to pan, in hopes of finding a hot spot. Suddenly, Dave finds river rock along with the bedrock, and hope is alive.
At Scribner Creek, Parker is on track to his is the 2,000-ounce goal. When they took a chance on diverting the river to find unfrozen pay, they hit a main streak of pay dirt that paid off with over 200 ounces. They are continuing to strip overburden to reach the pay dirt as quickly as possible. As luck would have it; Greg Remsburg loses all controls of the excavator. Mitch comes to check it out and discovers the pilot pump that distributes hydraulic fluid throughout the excavator is dead. No replacements are on site, so they are depending on him to perform another miracle.
At McKinnon Creek, where temperatures are dropping below freezing at night, the Hoffman crew is looking for a way to keep the sluices from freezing solid. Kevin has a plan to use tarps and put a heater under the tied-down tarps. The next morning at ten degrees below zero, the sluice is nice and warm and ready to roll.
At Eureka Creek, Tony is determined to get the gigantic dredge working. Tony has yet to start the thirty-year-old 75 horsepower motor that operates the gears to move the bucket line. When they give it a try, the belts were not tightened, and it had to stop for an adjustment. Once done, the motor runs, the bull gear turns and the dredge may soon be in business.
At Scribner, they must shut down in the day because they are running out of dirt with the one dozer down. Because they are running 24/7, they must do the shutting down in the day. If they shut down at night, the sluice will freeze as it did for the Hoffman crew. Temperatures in the Yukon can reach as low as minus 68 degrees Fahrenheit, making even steel brittle. In World War II, freezing conditions in the Arctic Ocean caused twelve US cargo ships to snap in half.
At McKinnon Creek, Dave found more dirt to run and things are rolling. Now Andy’s excavator is leaking hydraulic fluid, and his digging has to stop. Steve found where the leak was, and there is no replacement hose at the site either. It will require a trip to town and a day to repair it. Andy calls to Steve not to shut down the plant. The arm and shovel on the excavator still work, so Andy will use the dozer to bring dirt to him to load the truck. What a team these guys can be, when the chips are down.
At Eureka Creek, the last part to install is the bucket line. Seventy-two cast iron buckets are a mighty task. Tony’s plan is to use the winch on the back of the dozer to pull the bucket line in place; up and around the conveyor and the steel cable snapped before they could complete the line. Tony then directs Monica to lift the buckets with the excavator to take the weight off the chain. They soon discover there are two buckets short of a complete the line. Tony sends Monica to Clear Creek to look around and see if they were left behind.
At Scribner Creek, Parker’s wash plant is frozen solid and the parts for the 700 have not arrived. In short time, the pump arrives and Mitch installs it and the excavator is running in no time. At Eureka Creek, Monica found the two buckets; one is a bit busted up, but workable as the links are intact. Finally, the last pin is sledge-hammered into place and the dredge is together. At McKinnon, they are pulling mats to see how they did.
At Scribner Creek, Parker is ready for his clean out and Tony arrives just in time to see 117 ounces with a total of 1,840 ounces and winter prepared to curtail his goal of 2,000. Tony stated that if he gets 117 ounces out of his dredge before the end of the season, he will be very happy. At McKinnon, as the crew sits around the fire awaiting Jack’s announcement, he comes out with 122 ounces; just 64 ounces short of their thousand-ounce goal. They know that it is a reachable goal and will be there to do it, as Jack leads them in a prayer of Thanksgiving on this episode of “Gold Rush.”