In a race to finish his last cut at Scribner Creek, he orders his crew to set to work minus a key piece of protective equipment for his washplant Sluicifer — the grizzly bars.
The move risks damaging the equipment, and it isn’t long before cameras capture the dramatic moment a huge boulder moves up the belt then tumbles to the ground bending part of the metal structure on its way down.
Watch our exclusive clip from tonight’s episode below, as Chad Paullus talks about Parker’s strategy of removing the grizzly bars so they can up production.
Evidently disapproving of the idea, Paullus says: “Parker wants to not use the grizzly bars and crank the feed up. That’s his plan…I don’t really know if it’s a good idea, but he’s the boss, so that’s what we’re gonna do.”
Fellow Schnabel crewmate Mike Beaudry is also in agreement with Paullus, and explains his reservations.
Beaudry says: “These grizzly bars protect that entire plant, especially the belts, from all the big rocks. Now, if we’re gonna take them off and run without them? That’s on Parker.”
The crew crank the plant up to level five as everyone holds their breath watching the feed. As the belt whirrs away, fellow crew member Tyson Lee describes the game plan as “throw the dirt at it and hope for the best”.
He adds: “Right now we’re running at about 380 yards [of paydirt] an hour and that’s the highest we’ve ever ran Sluicifer. When you run stuff [paydirt and rocks] harder it breaks harder, so hopefully we just, you know, aren’t gonna screw ourselves over by doing that.”
Suddenly, Lee spots immediate trouble. “You gotta be kidding me, dammit!” he says, rushing out of the cab as the huge boulder bounces around dangerously on the belt before falling to the ground.
Investigating the damage afterwards, Lee explains: “All the racks are all bent up — that’s from one of the big rocks landing on it, and not really getting going and just bouncing around up there…we’re already seeing the damage it’s done running without the grizzly bars, so it’s a ticking time bomb.”
But is there worse to come?
Gold Rush airs Fridays at 9/8c on Discovery.