Any time you're climbing a tree (using any method), your dealing with danger and taking "a calculated risk".....
Cranfords are way to slow & hard to setup.
Jim Stepp "Steppladder" system is WAY TOO DANGEROUS (IMO) to trust at any significant heights. ~ Maybe if you're only 120 lbs., things are different..... But I doubt it.
Carrying around 4 muddy sticks add almost 15 lbs. (I know they ads say 10, but I think they're misleading a bit.)
I also have some "Climbpaws", but they are way too bulky to carry a bunch around.
I"m getting to the same height faster than using any of the techniques above, with only about 7 lbs of equipment that I have to lug around.
My 4 Muddy sticks are now not only good for 1 tree, but 2 trees. (This more than offsets the cost of the additional equipment!)
It only takes a moment to pull the aiders when you come down the tree, even if you choose to leave the sticks in place.
Not to mention that there is only one stick above 10 feet that I have to worry about failing. (That's what has always concerned me the most, a stick failing.)
The "software" I am integrating is engineered to be WAY stronger than the sticks themselves, by something like a factor of 10!
Weight and portability is one major factor when you're travelling all over the place on foot looking for hunting spots. (Hunting is very hard here and deer are few and far between.)
The other major factor is speed (and IMO, ease of use.) In little more than 5 minutes, not only do I have everything setup, but I'm at the top too! (And I feel safe doing it.)
All in all: I'm sure my climbing technique adds some risk, but IMO it also removes some. (And I personally feel safe doing it this way.) Overall, I see this as a significant "net gain." ~ A "net gain" on multiple levels. Note: A standard "rope style ladder" (like the one displayed in an earlier post above by ahawk19, instead of using aiders) might be superior (particularly in terms of stability) to the method I have chosen.....