Given the limited amount of energy (battery or fuel) let's reach the maximum possible altitude!
Rotary wing aircraft pushes the air directly downwards and propels itself straight up.
Fixed wing, however, must gain forward speed to produce lift, so it wastes some energy for unnecessary circling and associated drag. Anyway, eventually, its wings must somehow push the air downwards to gain altitude (that's what Newton says), energy-wise is it really different from rotary wing? (especially when circling really tightly?)
Moreover, imagine our fixed might wants to pitch up really hard and has powerful engine - at some point this makes it similar to rotary wing, in that the thrust direction becomes more and more vertical. Oh, so the distinction might be not that obvious!
Anyway, the question is, for this specific requirement of going just up, is the fixed wing still more energy efficient to reach a certain altitude than a rotary wing and why?