Carl, Dale, Evan, Ben, Sarah, Joe, Andy, Terry, MaryD, Tom and Jason -
Thank you all for sharing your perspective and concern. I am glad to report that my new friend isn't planning to start on the Canadian border, but at Cascade Locks, Oregon, the lowest point on the trail. He plans to hike south from this point toward Mexico beginning at the end of the month. The only reason I think he is starting in Oregon is because he lacks the funds to get to Canada, which really means he doesn't have the money to finish the trail, but that's another problem.
However, that is the only good news I can report thus far. I sent him a long email filled with question after question to at least make him examine his trail readiness. I used all of your suggestions, saving the "are you nuts?" argument for a later email in the event logic and reasoning fails to win the day. He lives on the east side of the Cascades near Sisters, Oregon, and thus, lacks perspective of the difference in climate he will face. The east side of the Cascades, particularly in this area, is much drier and sunnier than the west side of the range. Nor does he seem to appreciate the fact that at the base lodge of Mt. Hood (which he will be hiking towards), the snow is more than 10 feet deep, and this point is more than 2,300 feet LOWER than the high point through Oregon (which he will be hiking towards soon after leaving Hood).
I would think that these facts alone would be persuasive if it weren't for the fact he was 21 years old and full of enthusiasm and machismo. I agree, that the male at this age is rarely deterred by facts, statistics and common sense. I know I wasn't swayed by the truth as much as I was by my own motivations.
i suspect he will counter the snow warnings with the "they cross the snow in the Sierra in June" retort. Hence, explaining that all snow is not created equal, especially when trail conditions can very much suck.
That much said, I did a little research and ran across people who did hike out of Oregon during that period. A few made it but had real hardships early. Most waited until it melted out more, heading south in July instead of June.
Anyhow, I will keep you all informed. I hope to convince him to wait until early July, better weather, more fun, that sort of thing.
Thank you all for your terrific input and support!