Certainly.. the original question is "it" - meaning attempting the climb ice in the early season in northeast and the other "it" being the drive, the time, the energy, etc is doing the first "it". Being there's a good chance conditions will turn you around or there wouldn't be any ice at all.
But I like that you took it and applied it to other situations. That traverse across the top of Cathedral Peak to the other side where the downclimb started was hairy for me on a bluebird day! I can imagine pulling it off in the conditions you experienced might have felt not worth it at the time. I've definitely had thoughts similar to "What the hell am I doing here?" at the time and then once off the mountain unscathed, I felt really good about it.
Your last question on whether its worth the risk I think can change day to day..or minute by minute as you said. If someone asked me that question when I was alone in Odells Gully climbing in what I considered risky conditions, I'd answer that I felt good enough and confident enough in my abilities to get through it unharmed despite certain factors that were out of my control. I guess I can say, I felt in control enough to continue climbing up - at that time. That isn't to say if I go in there next weekend I'm going to feel the same way, or I'm not going to say to myself "I did it once and nothing happened, I can do it again and nothing will happen." I approach every climb as if it's the first time I've ever climbed it. And especially in a venue like Huntington Ravine.. I'm so familiar with it as I've climbed all the gullies there in various months of the year, getting casual about it is probably the riskiest thing you can do. There's constant evaluation and reevaluation that needs to go on. So there isn't any general comments that can be made from that, absolutely. I totally agree.
If you apply that question to different experiences in the mountains, yep, you are sure to get different answers and I agree the value of pushing it and learning is worth alot for me as well.
Of course it's worth it. If it wasn't you would'nt be out there doing it. Personally I climb and ski for myself and the comraderie. Seems as if you do the same and have a great perspective on the big picture of being "out there". Keep it going!