Mountain Men and Life in the Rocky

Subject Guide


Mountain West

Malachite’s Big Hole

About Malachite - A Short Biography 

My name is Michael Schaubs.  I grew up in Wisconsin, and other than brief periods, I’ve been a resident of Colorado since 1978.   I do not have a degree or any formal training in history.  I attended the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh from 1971-74 and Oregon State University from 1974-1978 where I earned degrees in Geology and Economic Geology respectively.

I was employed in the private sector from 1978 through 1998 in gold exploration and environmental remediation During this period I spent time working in just about every state between Missouri and Alaska.  Since 1998 I’ve been a groundwater geologist with the State of Colorado-Division of Water Resources.

I’ve had an interest in Native American culture and the fur trade since I was a child when I would walk corn rows outside of the  Wisconsin community I grew up in, picking up projectile points, pot shards, trade beads and gunflints.  When I entered college I was undecided as to whether I would pursue a course of study in geology or archeology.  It turned out my Geology 101 Prof was captivating and my Anthropology 101 Prof was mind-numbing.  So quite naturally, I became a geologist. On such small things the course of a lifetime can be determined.

However, I’ve always maintained that interest in the fur trade.  I gave my first first-person mountain man presentation in 2003.  At that time my youngest son was in 8th grade and we were attending his “Back to School” introduction.  All his teachers got up and gave a short summary of the material they would be covering.  His history teacher did likewise, including that they would have a unit covering mountain men and the Western Expansion.  Afterwards I went up and volunteered,  “I can supplement your mountain man unit…..”  She accepted and I loved it!  Since then I’ve given my “Mountain Man” program at more than one-hundred events and to more than 9,000 students, Boy Scouts and members of the community.

In 2006 I attended the Living History Workshop sponsored by Bent’s Old Fort NPS in order to improve my first person presentations.  During this five-day, four-night workshop the student participants literally lived, breathed and slept 1847. This training inspired me to a new level of effort to authenticity in my presentations.  In 2011 I was invited back to the workshop, but this time as a mentor in the role of a trader/clerk.

This web site, “Malachite’s Big Hole” was turned on in 2005.  The purpose of the website originally was to be a source of additional information for any students interested in further pursuing the topic, and for myself as a source to review from.  Since then, documenting the Mountain Men and life in the early 1800's has become an obsession in itself.  Presently the “Big Hole” averages more than 10,000 visitors and 30,000 page views per month.   I consider this website a work in progress and am always trying to improve it and I am always interested in who uses the “Big Hole” and for what purposes.

If you have managed to stay with me this far, I have a couple of questions for you. You obviously have some interest in history or you wouldn’t have found the site, but specifically, what kind of information were you looking for here and did you find it? If there was something that I could change or add to the site that would improve your experience what might that be?  I would appreciate and value your input.  You can contact me here.   

Thank you.

Michael Schaubs
aka Malachite
Littleton, Colorado  

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Photo Courtesy Robb Gneiser