Well, i really think that it depends on the location you hunt. If it is public property, the big advantage is that you can take it with you when you leave the woods, and you do not need to worry about it being stolen. If it's private land, and you are reasonably comfortable leaving it in the woods, then a nice hang-on stand will do fine.
Other advantages to the climber is that if you get into the woods, and the wind changes or some other factor come to light, you can simply slide down the tree and move. In the early season especially, this is a good thing. If you have not had much time to scout an area, you can cover alot more ground in alot less time with a climber. Also, with a climber, you have the stand to lug around, and that's it. With a hang-on, you need to lug in the steps, straps, etc.
The main detriment is the noise. With a pre set-up hang-on, you can sneak into the woods, climb the ladder into you stand, and you are ready. With the climber, there is inevitably going to be more noise while setting it up.
When it all comes down to it, if you can only afford one or 2 stands, I like the clmbers. I think it gives you more options. But, if you are on private land, and have some extra cash, it's always nice to have a variety of stands set up throughout the property.
I've swung around and now prefer ladder stands to climbers, even though some climbers' comfort cannot be matched in a ladder stand, IMHO. A climber is obviously much more mobile, but I normally do NOT carry it in and hunt it that same day. I normally find a likely spot, set up the climber durring midday and hunt it that afternoon or perhaps the following day. I'll leave a climber in a good spot for an entire season at times too. (then swith out to a ladder after the season ends)
The down side is that I've also had stands stolen, even from private lands. My Buddy recently told me about a spot he had two stands at and I cautioned him because I'd just had another one stolen. He said it was within 40 yds of his Buddy's barn and would surely be OK. Yup, you guessed it, it was stolen!
I think a serious hunter has uses for BOTH a climber and ladder type set-ups and will be wise to have some of each for changes in conditions encountered throughout any given season.
There is one tip I have learned over the years in hunting whitetails in late season snow. Do not overlook soybeans left standing on the edges of fence rows, woods, creeks, buildings wherever it might be, this is where the deer will be while the food lasts during late season. December/January will pull deer in from some distance away to feed on the easy to get to food.
I killed one of my nicest bucks off of a very small patch of soybeans that was left after rains created a...