I can't really say that I have a favorite photo of his or anything, but his work is technically excellent and he's an important figure in the history of photography and darkroom techniques, so saying I "loathe" him would be pretty silly.
I do really like the work of Clyde Butcher, who is sort of like a younger ansel adams - by 40 years.
You have to keep in mind that he started working in the early 20th century. This is not digital photography where you can just snap away, look at your photos instantly, and delete the ones you do not want. This guy had a lot of skill and it took a long time and practice to gain that. Today, we don't really see the type of patience and professional technique. We have it so much easier, that there is no way to compare. Can you imagine traveling during the 1920's, 30's, 40's etc? Life was a lot slower and harder back then. I think the generation gap between us and his early life is too far apart to really understand.
I don't think anyone is disputing the fact that almost everything was harder back then, and that he was a pioneer in photography, but you can't expect people to like his work just because it was harder for him to produce them than it is for the typical landscape photographer today. If I had a choice, I'd hang on my wall the work that is more pleasing to my eyes, not the one that was harder to make.
I wish I could hand some of these guys a 1920s camera and a roll of film and say, "okay, show me how easy it is." Almost all of them would be utterly lost and I bet I wouldn't see more than one or two properly exposed photos on the roll.
Sure, and hand a photographer from 100 years ago a Phase One, and he wouldn't be able to get great results right away, that is, if they don't step away from it, calling it black magic. It's all about getting used to the technology at hand. We measure exposure differently than how they did 100 years ago.
Medium format cameras don't have to be used with tripods any more than 35mm cameras do. It's just smarter to use one than not to if you can (that applies to 35mm and digital cameras too) and the guys who shoot in medium format usually have more invested in getting good photos. Large format cameras usually require a tripod, but even then there are what are called press cameras that can be used without one. It is nearly always advisable to use a tripod if the situation allows for it, buit is even more so when it costs $10 per photo.