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What Happened to Rick Ness? Why Did He Leave Gold Rush?

What Happened to Rick Ness? Why Did He Leave Gold Rush?

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The dream of the American gold rush isn’t just stuck in the 1800s. Gold mines are still in operation today, and the Discovery show Gold Rush takes a real look at the competitive and risky businesses.

Gold Rush follows multiple family-run mining companies in areas like Yukon and Alaska. In season 8, Rick Ness struck out on his own and ran his own mine until season 13.

But after the beginning of the season, Ness was absent from the show, leaving fans wondering if he was okay. Thankfully, just before the season 14 premiere, Rick Ness resurfaced and explained his absence.

We’ve got the definitive guide to what happened to Rick Ness, including the real reason he left Gold Rush and what he’s doing now.

What Happened To Rick Ness On Gold Rush?

Rick Ness was absent from much of season 13 of Gold Rush due to suffering from depression. Part of his struggle came from dealing with the death of his mother in 2018.

At the beginning of season 13 of Gold Rush, Rick Ness addressed his struggles with his mental health. He only appeared in the second episode, “Searching for Rick Ness,” and a special called “Ric Ness Comes Clean.”

““There’s seasonal affective disorder that they think I have,” Rick explained of his problems in these appearances, “and then just depression at night,” I don’t know what’s causing it.”

Rick Ness from Gold Rush

Rick’s friend Zee visited Rick to check on him and Rick admitted he wasn’t doing well. He revealed that he was still struggling with his mother’s death. She passed away from cancer at only 55 in 2018.

Rick still owned his mother’s house at the time and told Zee, “it’s like she never left right now.” He also explained that he hadn’t been up to the house in two years as of Zee’s visit.

Rick looked back on his friend’s visit in one of the show’s video confessionals. “I am doing better,” he said, “but […] there’s just a lot of things that I don’t understand still, you know, with […] whatever this is I’m going through.”

Rick ended up taking a break from both Gold Rush and his Yukon mine as a whole. “When I’m ready, I will be gold mining again. I just don’t know when that is.” He ended up taking a year off and only appeared briefly in season 13 of Gold Rush.

There are rumors on social media that Rick may have struggled with drug or alcohol addiction and possibly had face surgery. However, there’s no evidence for any of these claims and are only unfounded speculation.

Is Rick Ness Returning To Gold Rush?

Yes, Rick Ness has returned to Gold Rush in season 14. His return was announced in the season 14 trailer and Rick’s own X account:

Rick has opened up more about the struggles he had in his absence before the season premiere. He told People Magazine that there’s a stigma about mental health issues in both his career and his personal life. “I’m a gold miner with the stigma there. I don’t really ask for help […] I’ve always been that way.”

“I just thought I’d deal with it myself and try and figure it out, which is tough when you don’t what you’re dealing with.”

Taking a break from the gold mining business is very risky, and Rick knew he’d fall behind. But he says if he hadn’t left, “the direction this train was running was not a good one.”

“I had to take a step back. It was not good for business, but it was good for me. And at the end of it all, I’m just fortunate I have another shot at this.”

His next “shot” is season 14 of Gold Rush, in which he’ll try to recoup some of his losses from his time away. To help rebuild his business, Rick is using funds from selling his mother’s house.

Gold miner Rick Ness in the Gold Rush TV show

It’s a good sign that Rick is coping better, since there was a period where he couldn’t even go up to the house in his depression. But it’s still going to be a long road to his former success.

“I’m starting off with not much in the bank, so I have to start from scratch with a lot of secondhand equipment and just anything I can afford to get going.”

Gold Rush Cast Responds To Rick’s Absence And Return

Rick Ness’s former boss, Parker Schnabel, is glad that Rick is coming back to Gold Rush. Rick is also partnering with Brian “Zee” Zaremba on the show.

Other miners weren’t sure if Ness would ever come back, but Ness has others in his corner. He’s using Zee as his partner in the upcoming season. They hope to prove Ness’s doubters wrong, as does Parker Schnabel.

Ness worked under Parker for six years before he became his own mine boss in season 9 of Gold Rush. But he never stopped rooting for Rick Ness.

Rick says that one of the first things he did when he returned to the Klondike was to go see Parker Schnabel. “I hadn’t talked to him or seen him in probably a couple years,” said Ness.

“He had some nice things to say,” Ness went on. “It was really good actually.”

“A lot of people didn’t think I was coming back,” Rick said. “A lot of people didn’t think they’d ever see me up here again.” Ness says Parker never counted him out.

Parker and Rick Ness shaking hands on Gold Rush

“Parker said when he was hearing those things, he just said, ‘You know what? Rick’s a survivor. Don’t be surprised to see him back.”

Talking with People Magazine, Parker says he did have to struggle with his competitive side. “I’m just super competitive and see you as a competitor,” he told Ness directly while they spoke to People Magazine.

“But you’re a great fit for the show. You’re a great fit for mining.”

So, it seems that Rick Ness definitely has support in his corner, whatever the future holds for his mining business and his mental health.


Tuesday 9th of January 2024

Where did Zee go? Why?