Black Horse Racing Header

“If you’re not moving, you’re standing  still.”


Steve Trafton


How did this web site come about?

Steve Trafton OMG Don’t Ask

OMG! Don’t Ask.

A message from the Webmaster:

Steve Trafton and I went to Seattle’s Broadview Elementary School together in the 1950s so we go back a long way…to when he was just a “normal” kid. But as I followed his exploits through the years, I realized that he had a growing passion for life in the extremes. Like Teddy Roosevelt, he was in fact “living the hard life” and doing it on purpose. In this website, Steve documents the adventures that came to him as a result of living that philosophy.

Steve with wife Katherine

Steve with wife Katherine

Steve Trafton was experienced in mountain and rock climbing by the time he was 21 years old. In 1967 he was accepted into Seattle Mountain Rescue where he served as a field operations leader and eventually as Rescue Chairman. During the period from 1967 to 1980 he participated in over 200 rescue missions. This experience led to a series of high arctic expeditions which saw the first ascent of dozens of peaks, some as far north as 82 degrees. (That’s almost to Santa Claus’ door step.) These expeditions were followed by numerous long distance treks and kayaking trips. In the 1970s Steve began keeping a journal of adventures to share with family and friends.  You can read some of them and view his photos in three different sections: Arctic Expeditions, European Treks and American Treks.

King William Island Expedition

An Arctic Explorer

But his public and business life was just as unusual and certainly eventful. Starting as an entry-level bank employee in Seattle in 1968, Steve worked his way up to Chairman and CEO of Glendale Federal Savings Bank. He was hired to restructure and re-capitalize this troubled institution during the banking crisis of the early 1990s. He successfully engineered one of the largest private re-capitalizations of a troubled bank in US history. This was all done with no government assistance or tax payer money. After saving the bank from government seizure, he led it to a position as one of the most profitable and fastest growing institutions in the country. Steve was awarded Executive of the Year and was featured in national magazines including Fortune, Forbes, and Business Week for fighting the US Government. It was a landmark breach of contract case resulting in a large judgment in favor of Glendale Savings. You can read about this in the Business Career section.

But wait.

After Setting Ferrari Land Speed Record

After Setting Ferrari Land Speed Record

At the age of 64, Steve Trafton broke (and today retains) the World Land Speed record for the AA Blown Fuel Modified Sports class at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. You can read, view photos and watch the video that traces his pursuit in the Land Speed Record section.

That fit nicely with Steve’s passion for collecting classic Ferrari and racing cars which can been seen in the Car Collection section.

Not all journeys end as hoped. The 8500 mile Peking to Paris endurance road rally that he and his wife Katherine entered for 2016 was cut short in Mongolia by an engine breakdown. You can read about this in the Peking to Paris section. Or just follow along with occasional updates on our Blog.

Driving Peking to Paris Rally

Driving Peking to Paris Rally

Many more treks have simply not been written yet. Mountain climbing Mexican volcanoes. Washington State’s Cascades, South and Central America climbs, Kilimanjaro, more treks to Northern Ellesmere Island, Trans Iceland and King William Island. It’s hard to keep up with this guy you know.

If you want to read the influences that push someone to achieve so many heights in life, a book about Steve was released in Summer 2017.  You can read excerpts from it on this site.

Alan Bixby