sounds like you have an experienced partner who is sharing his knowledge which is great, i question his decision making though bringing someone along who is less experienced and has no gear. I have let others tag along with me with out knowing there abilities and seen them get in over there head, shit gets real FAST.
REI does free avy seminars from time to time.
he knew I could handle the run and he had gear to dig me out. I'm taking the rei class as soon as there's another available. ordering my pack, probe, beacon and shovel, this weekend. I'll be ready for next yr.