Posted: 17/07/2013 at 11:42
You could try scratching away a piece of bark with your fingernail to see whether there's any green underneath it. But I don't think snipping will do any harm anyway.
I think it's likely that anything brown and twiggy is not going to grow now, so what I'd do myself is cut the dead-looking canes down to theground. If the only thing they're attached to is an equally dead bit of root, I'd take the whole thing out, but if there are other live canes nearby, don't disturb them. The good canes will soon put out suckers and provide you wilth more new canes for next year.