Gary Schenk wrote:Hi, Marc!
Where you been, you misguided lackey of the capitalist system? (Oops! We're not allowed to banter here anymore, I forgot! My bad.)
A guided trip on Rainier will be a load of fun for your buddy. Even if it doesn't work out that mountaineering is for him, it'll be an experience he'll never forget. He'll learn a lot, too.
Pay no attention to the nattering nabobs of negativism. Tell him to go for it.
I agree, my wife's first real climb was a guided climb of the Allalinhorn (13368 ft/ 4027 m, 4000 ft./ 1200 m up from the hut) in perfect weather, and she enjoyed it immensely. Although an easy glacier climb, it had all the trappings, yawning crevasses, seracs, even an ice avalanche seen from afar, and a girl in a preceding team dropping down a crevasse to be immediately hauled up again by her guide, none the worse for the experience, a narrow firn ridge close to the summit. Finally seeing all the major peaks of the western Alps from the top put the dot on the i.
I think a guided trip is the best way to start. A guide is guaranteed to get you down alive, and will not take you on any peak that in his judgment you cannot handle. Still, the physical exertion and the splendour of the mountains is about the same, and the beginner will be able to judge whether this is really something for her/him.