Thanks for the thoughtful response, Jonathan. Hope you had a good trip, and I look forward to seeing your trip report.
This is good information for the broader group to be aware of. I agree that the permit system serves its purpose well, however each individual will have their own comfort level in regards to how closely they wish to play by the rules. As an example, if you look closely at the official map of the Whitney Zone, you will find that you actually need to cross into and then back out of the Whitney Zone boundary to reach to Lone Pine Lake. I would hazard a guess that most people who day hike just to LPL have permits. It must fall within the "speed limit +5" threshold https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_MEDIA/stelprdb5347549.jpg
I was told on the FB group that fines for hiking within the WZ without permit are $180, and the ranger will escort you off the mountain as well. I was also told that another individual was in a similar situation to me and successfully picked up two permits under her name from the night box:
"Yeah donít do it .. I went last weekend with a buddy of mine .. I had a permit he did not ... needless to say , I submitted he did not , they walked him off with a ticket of a whopping 180 bucks .. so donít do it Whitney hiking community !" -Antonio Coronado
"fwiw, I also grabbed two individual permits in my name both, no alternate permit holder and arranged night box delivery for both. It was last minute and I had no issues. Good luck!" -Shannon Livingstone Bousfield
Aside: the Mt. Whitney FB group (closed group, must message moderator for an invite) is another great resource for those planning their trips, but I've noticed that there tends to be a bit of gatekeeping and a substantial amount of groupthink. Overall it's a very friendly community, but these boards by comparison have a stronger core group of experienced hikers who take the time to write thoughtful responses.