I find that having your hands aligned with your shoulder and your elbows close to the rib cages allows a higher pedaling output. In other words using bar ends to climb is like doing pushups and pullups with your hands far apart –*it's harder that way.
I agree totally, that's why I continue to use unfashionably narrow bars (~24"). Plenty wide enough to control even a rigid bike in rough terrain (if you have any hand/arm strength at all) but perfectly positioned for me to give a power pull during climbing in or out of the saddle when on the bar ends. So how wide are your bars? Do you suppose there's a correlation between disliking/ditching bar ends and the use of wider (>26") bars?
"The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...
PeT. I think using bar ends is a matter of riding practices, I find them great for long rides as they provide an alternative posture to relax, but I'll use them on the flat and shallow inclines when riding at a relax pace.
Their is so much to say about bike fitting. With time I've learned a few principles of bio-mechanics and I adjusted my posture and my bike accordingly. But I mostly did it by feel. So my handlebars were cut after I moved my brake levers and grips several times until I found the posture that engaged the list amount of muscles of my upper body while locking in an efficient pedal stroke. My hands are roughly just outside of the width of my shoulders. Someone who's got a very developed pectoral muscle group mind find it easier to grab a wider bar.
Handlebars are made to fit most people and they are meant to be altered to fit individuals. Too many people never cut them and don't even try adjusting the brake levers and gear shifters to fit their hands and having bar ends and handlebar that's too wide is pointless. The question of this thread should be "When and how should bar ends be used?"!