OK, here goes...while I have, and will continue to, defend the practice of Top Roping ice on this bulletin board and elsewhere, I saw some things this weekend that were kind of ridiculous. My partner and I went out to one of the smaller crags in the area that we knew would be in the sun. When we got there only a few parties were climbing...one guide/client, and a couple of groups on top ropes. We led a couple of the mixed climbs...and watched while the groups on top rope proceeded to hack the living crap out of the lines they were on. Now, we're not talking about permanent environmental damage here, and the only folks who really give a crap about the state of the ice are ice climbers...but we are talking about being courteous to one's climbing peers. By the end of the afternoon, there were at least 5 top ropes set up...some of the folks were climbing with a bit of grace and delicacy, and some looked like they were trying to bring the climb down on top of themselves. So...two things. Please, when you are climbing on top rope, pretend that you are leading. Pretend that you can't afford to knock enormous chunks of the climb off. Pretend that you have to move with a bit of caution. And, if you are doing damage to the climb (which, on days as cold as this weekend, is somewhat inevitable), take a few laps on each line and then move on...don't run 15 laps until the climb you're on is no longer climbable.
I learned to climb ice on top rope...I think it's a fine way to gain experience and have fun. But folks do need to be a little considerate. With temps as cold as they are, climbs that get hacked take forever to come back...which is no fun for anyone.
Climb safe and hard...and have fun.