Kevin, your description of the typical first attempt to find the GIANT north face of the highest mountain in Idaho is spot on. I got shut down my first 3 attempts without ever getting to the route. The first two times on the approach by route finding and waist deep postholing, and the other time when 8" of fresh snow dropped as we were sleeping in the parking lot (remember?).
The time I finally got it we went first weekend in August. The bottom half of the route was still snow, with the top half ice. If you want ice all the way I think you need to wait until September.