I have a climbing Rose that is a bit of a disaster! It grows against an arch but was never properly trained and now does its own thing - mostly a wild mess about 10 foot up. I think it suffered with the snow and now has a lot of thick, bare, dead looking stems with a few new leaves and some sorry-looking flowers.
I am loathe to dig it up as it was a house-warming present 10yrs ago. If I cut it right back to the ground am I likely to kill it completely or is it worth a shot to give it a second chance?
It sounds like a pretty vigorous rose and is likely to have a really well developed root system, which will help it survive a good pruning. Actually it's quite hard to kill of a rose, they're really tough. I'd be inclined to cut most of it back. Any branches or shoots that are dead should be cut off, along with any straggling thin branches that are growing in the wrong place. Allow the main stem to stay in place along with any branches that are growing in the right place. When the new growth starts coming, just cut back any that's in the wrong place and let growth in the right place flourish and tie it in to the arch. After you've pruned it, give it some rose fertiliser and water it regularly to encourage new growth. Good luck!