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John Schnabel

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John Schnabel is a legendary gold miner in Alaska. At the age of 17 John had chopped off his big toe, as he was a logger. His parents split up when he was young. He lived with his two sisters in a 12x15ft cabin. He was the founder of the Big Nugget Mine, a famous mine on the edge of Porcupine Creek. He is the patriarch of hte Schnabel family.

Big Nugget MineEdit

He was the boss of the mine, when 2011 (season 2), when 91 year old John gave the mine to run to his 17 year old grandson Parker Schnabel. John was still around to help with the mine and his grandson. In season 4, John resumed running the mine.

John found over 50 ounces of gold and very large nuggets in one day on McKilrevie Bench


Near the end of the Season 2, John suffered a heart attack, but lived and went back to the mine as boss during Parker's return to school. In 2013, John was diagnosed with prostate cancer. His dream of mining Smith Creek Hill was documented in the episode Grandpa's Last Wish, with Payson Schnabel and Parker Schnabel, his grandsons by his son Roger Schnabel and his wife Nancy Schnabel, digging it out. At the end of Season 4, in March 2014, John was 93 years-old, and still alive. 


Main article: Schnabel family

John has a grandson Parker Schnabel who is one of the heads of one of the mining crews featured on Gold Rush.

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