It turned into a gorgeous day and one of the guys came ready to work, so we cleared the leaf mulch away from the plants.
Hops shoots are edible and some commercial growers harvest them to sell to restaurants. It doesn't affect the final harvest. Only one or two shoots/bines are selected grow up each string, so the rest may as well be put to good use.
We were surprised at how many rhizomes were at the surface. Here, you can see the buds emerging from one of them.